Friday, November 30, 2012

The Diagnosis.....

No v.d., no cancer, 
on T.V's the answer,

No father, no mother, 
she's just like the other,
And you know, and I know,
my clone sleeps alone... 

("My Clone Sleeps Alone", Pat Benatar)


Well.....I finally got the diagnosis of what's wrong with my left breast.  And I would give anything if I didn't have to tell you what's really wrong with it.  Please have mercy on me--please don't judge me.  Dammit, this just isn't my month.....

At first when I discovered the lump in my left breast, I got scared, thinking the growing lump was cancer.  I went through the gamut of seeing my OB/GYN and then a breast surgeon.  I endured painful mammograms and ultrasounds where they mercilessly squash your boob with all kinds of frightening equipment.  Lord, I thought---if you didn't have a problem with your hapless boob before those tests, you certainly would developt a problem with your hapless boob AFTER those horrible tests.

(Geez....I never thought that in my whole life I would ever label my boob as "hapless".  In the immortal words of the Wicked Witch of the West, what a world, what a world...)

Finally, I had my final appointment with my breast surgeon.  It was the appointment where all the test results would be reviewed with me.  They hadn't called me beforehand so I assumed it wasn't that big of a deal.  I figured it was just a harmless, benign mass that would have to be removed.  After all, the radiologist had said he'd looked at the films and determined that it wasn't cancer.

And as I waited for the appointment with the surgeon, I knitted nervously with Sashay yarn, making the frilly scarves everybody is talking about.

The reason I started knitting them is because I hadn't ever used Sashay and I wanted a new and different activity that would completely occupy my mind in order to drown out the worry over the breast problem.  

And finally the day arrived and I went to see the breast surgeon.  And do you know what the problem turned out to be?  Get ready---because God forbid but I'm going to reveal something which I absolutely NEVER wanted to reveal to anybody.

Okay....deep breath here...

The hard, lump-like mass in my left breast is scar tissue---scar tissue which is forming around the capsule in which my breast implant is located.  Yes, it's true.  Years ago I stupidly had a boob job like a lot of my fellow stupid friends were doing, and now the left implant has either leaked or ruptured completely, causing contractures and scar tissue formation around the implant capsule---and said scar tissue is getting bigger and bigger over time, causing my HAPLESS boob to become rock hard.  Blaine is astonished at this development.

The diagnosis?  

I was referred to a plastic surgeon for what they call a "breast revision".  Basically, the plastic surgeon will go in and scoop out the implant and the troublesome capsule.  Then he'll put a new breast implant in.  The other breast will be treated the same since it has the same implant and is at risk for developing the same problem.  In other words.....another damn boob job!!!

Sigh again....

The plastic surgeon's PA explained everything to me.  Apparently, the year I had my breast augmentation, the implants weren't as "advanced" in quality as they are now.  She explained that my implants were bad and that they would replace them with the "top of the line" new and better implants they have these days.  She even mentioned a model number and said the implants would come with a "warranty"---because since they are considered so advanced and perfect, that if any complications arise, they will fix things for free.

A model number?  A warranty?  Are my boobs going to be considered as if they're a damn vehicle??!?!?  In other words, the way she explained, my old implants are like Studebakers....

 and my new implants will be Cadillacs.....or Land Rovers.....or Rolls Royces.....or Bentleys...

Where was I?

Oh yes, I have to have surgery.  

So anyway, Monday I go for another torture session mammogram.  The following Monday I have my consultation with the plastic surgeon, and then I'll most likely have the surgery scheduled before Christmas.

The worst part?

The surgery is not covered by insurance since it's "cosmetic surgery".  Thus, we'll have to pay about $7,000 for it.

And this means we can't go down to my uncle's for Christmas because that trip costs about $1000 and we need that money for the surgery.

I have been crying for days over this whole mess.  And I keep asking myself WHY?  Why was I so stupid in my salad days, stupid enough to get a boob job?  Why?  I looked just fine without them.  And now I can't see my mother, uncle, niece, and everybody else in the swamp at Christmas because we have to save money for my surgery.  

And I love my beloved swamp.  My roots (on my mother's side) come from the deep swamp in northern Louisiana and I feel the most at home there than anywhere in the world, alligators and all.  I have tons of relatives in that area.  (My father used to joke about my mother having "water marks" on her legs.)  (And my mother would threaten to snatch him bald for saying that.)

("Snatching somebody bald" is a southern expression.  Here's one of my old blog's posts where I describe how I wanted to snatch everybody in town bald.  The post is here. )

Anyway, I will miss being at my Cajun uncle's house, way up in the sky on the 20 foot pylons that keep the house dry when the river floods.  I will miss my uncle deep frying the turkey in a fryer on his deck.  I will miss his funny Cajun friends.  I will miss his 75 roosters crowing together at any given time of the morning or night.    (He raises game cocks for people who participate in the sport of cock fighting--a sport I heartily despise.)  I will miss everything about having our Christmas holiday in the swamp with my relatives there.  Here's some links if you want to see what a wondrous Thanksgiving we had there one time when the water was up and we could only get to and from the house and town by my uncle's boat.  (These stories are also from my old blog, link above.)

A Cajun Thanksgiving, Part One:

Part Two:
So.... Blaine and I will not be going down to my family's for Christmas.  And now the big problem is....what are we going to tell his family?  They know we are supposed to go down there---and so how are we going to explain why we're suddenly NOT going???  

Sigh yet again.....

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Unfortunately, I Always Have to Learn My Lessons the Hard Way....

Good Lord, I can't believe what I did.  I feel so awful.  I hope you guys don't get mad at me because I swear to you that I really and truly didn't mean anything negative by what I did.

Thanksgiving Day arrived and, as per my usual habit, I insisted on watching the beginning of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  (Here's a shot for you---it starts with an impressive number of balloons.")

And then we commenced to finish up the last of our preparations for the big family Thanksgiving Dinner.  The stupid cats kept trying to get into the box that we were filling with vacuum packed homemade French bread, the container of fried onion rings for the green bean casserole's topping, pie toppings like Cool Whip and whipped cream, and other things.

And then the whole damn trouble started with my Thanksgiving Dinner meal "assignment"...

Everybody was told to bring something and Blaine & I were supposed to bring dessert, homemade bread, and green bean casserole.  We were told that it would be a large gathering since all the now grown up nephews and nieces would be bringing their significant others--and also there would be somebody's best friend and somebody else's mother--and there could be anywhere between 17 and 20 people in all.  So I made an extra large green bean casserole and 2 pies instead of just one.  I made Christmas Eggnog Custard Pie and "Civil War Pumpkin Pie."  I also took some homemade salsa and chips.

The reason it's called "Civil War Pumpkin Pie" is because it has two layers---a "south" and a "north" layer.  It's a tasty pie because the southern layer is a cheesecake type filling and the northern layer is a yummy pumpkin pie mixture.  As you know, my family is "southern" on my mother's side and Texan on my father's.  So Civil War Pumpkin Pie was always on our Thanksgiving dinner table.

Please forgive us southerners for our proclivity for naming things to reflect as having to do with the "south" and the "north"---because southerners just do that for some reason.  I never thought twice about it.  For example, southerners call kisses "Yankee Dimes"--but it's said only in fun.   My father called Texas "God's Country"--but that's how Texan men are raised to think.

Anyway, off to Blaine's brother's home we went, where we added our food offerings to the huge number of food dishes on the buffet table.  There was a ton of people there and we all began socializing and having family fun.  The nieces and nephews began a feisty touch-football game outside and we grown-ups stood up on the deck watching and cheering (and secretly feeling very old....)

So then it was time for dinner and we had a raucous time at two large tables, passing food around, eating a gigantic amount of turkey, dressing, and green bean casserole, etc.  We laughed fit-to-kill over stories told about days gone by.  Several latecomers drifted in and were handed huge plates of food.  Finally it was time for dessert.

So we trotted out all the desserts and put them on the tables.  There were my two pies, a pecan crunch brittle from one niece, and a pumpkin cheesecake from somebody's best friend.  As the passing out of dessert plates began, somebody hollered out: "Hey Bo--why is it called 'Civil War Pumpkin Pie'?"

It was very loud due to all the chatterings so I hollered back: "It's called 'Civil War Pumpkin Pie' because there's a  'southern' layer and a 'northern' layer!" And everybody laughed their heads off at  good ole southern-raised Bo.

And then the laughter suddenly stopped and there was a deafening silence.

I was confused---I didn't know why everybody stopped laughing so suddenly.  What was wrong???

I looked around the table....and followed everyone's gaze.....and then I saw what had happened.  And I blushed a deep red because I was utterly mortified.

A young nephew had just arrived......and he was standing at the doorway to the dining room with his African American girl.

I thought I'd die.  I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me whole.  And I didn't know what to do.  And nobody else knew what to do.  So we just suddenly started talking again and the uncomfortable incident passed.

But I was still completely horrified at announcing the definition of the Civil War Pumpkin Pie in front of an African American girl.  I didn't know whether she was offended or not.  I mean, I wasn't even sure if she'd heard the remark or not.  But even if she had heard it, the pie's label isn't meant to be racist.  It's just another harmless southern joke.

Or is it?

I pulled my sister-in-law aside later and asked her what she thought I should do.  I wanted to know if she thought I should go to the girl and apologize, and then explain to her that it's a stupid southern custom to name things like that, and that I certainly meant no racism or bigotry by the name of the damnable pie.  I wasn't even the one to name the pie thusly.  It was simply a dumb name for the pie that had been handed down in my family.

My sister-in-law said no, don't say anything, because that might make it worse.  She said to let it pass.

So I spent the last hour of the dinner feeling purely sinful.  I swore to myself that I'd never call that pie "Civil War Pumpkin Pie" again.  From now on, I thought, I'm just going to make up some other name for it---a non-Civil War name--just a plain old pie name.

That nephew and his friend did not speak to me during their time there.  I lurked around with much self-shame in my thoughts, even though my sister-in-law had said she didn't think I'd done anything racist.  But I'm not so sure.

No matter what my sister-in-law said about not having done anything wrong, I have an uncomfortable feeling that there actually was an important lesson there for me to learn.  I mean, for my entire life I never thought that the crazy things southerners do are wrong.  To us, poking fun at things "north" and "south" are thought of as harmless.  And I guess since there are no African American people in my family we simply never thought of whether or not something we did or said would be offensive to that culture.

But to set the record straight, my family taught my sister and me to think of all people as being equal to each other.  We grew up respecting all cultures and were not bigots or racists.  My parents instilled in us the belief that the Lord God made all of us as His children and that the Lord never makes anything "inferior".  And since we lived in foreign countries, we encountered many, many other cultures---and so we were able to have the opportunity to learn to love even more cultures besides the African American culture.

I am mightily saddened to think that I may have offended the nephew's girlfriend.

Sigh....I have a heavy heart about this.  


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Yes, Peaches, there is a Santa Claus...


(Lu-Lu doesn't believe anymore)

(Santa's messy, Zariski workshop.....)


That round thing by the phone on the shelf is a "serenity fountain"---don't know if you can see the water trickling down.  God knows I need some serenity....

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Yes, I've wanted to do this to Peaches, too....

I finally finished the pair of socks for my dentist's assistant, no thanks to stupid Peaches.  This morning I was weaving in the loose ends and I turned my eyes away for one minute and suddenly the sock I was working on went missing!

Gone, I tell you.  Gone.

I searched high and low around my knitting chair to no avail.  I did find the tapestry needle I had been using a few feet away....but no sock.

It was so damn frustrating that I thought I was going crazy.  (Even worse crazy than I already am, if you know what I mean....)

Then I remembered.....Peaches has taken up a new hobby lately.  It's called: "Hide the Socks".  She retrieves pairs of socks from Daddy's drawer and then totes them all over the house while playing with them.  So I knew I was going to have to widen my circle of searching.

After much gnashing of teeth and renting of clothing, I finally found the sock......underneath Daddy's newspapers on the floor in the living room.  I WAS SO ANGRY!  It had taken me half an hour to find that damn sock.

aarrghh..... so after trying hard to ignore my inclination to strangle Peaches, I took the sock and completed the weaving in of the ends.  Here's the pic, but the dang light I photographed them in just doesn't show how the orange of the cuffs/heels/toes totally matches the orange spots in the leg/feet portion of the socks.  You'll have to take my word for it that in real life the two colors are exactly alike and match very well.

Now that I've finished them, I can return to knitting my Zariski.  And I have vowed---no more interruptions, even dentist's assistant requests!  I return to the dentist on Tuesday so I will give them to her then.  I hope she likes my "Fall Pumpkin Socks".  (That's what Blaine named them---he's getting pretty good about taking part in my knitting affairs.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

There's Hinting....And There's "Hinting".....

I play games now but it's not fun,
A cowboy's work is never done...

("A Cowboy's Work is Never Done", Sonny & Cher)
(Well I guess from the above picture you can see that Peaches' work is certainly never done, the lazy little idgit.)

(Anyhoo, on with the blog post:)


I went to the dentist the other day and, as usual, his assistant got me settled in the torture exam chair.  So I went through the undignities of getting a bib put upon me, a doggie-bone shaped pillow behind my neck, and a 10,000 watt light bulb shined upon my face.

She and I chatted for a few minutes and then she changed the my knitting.  She remembered me once wearing The Little Red Riding Hoodie (on my old blog, link here) to an appointment.  We discussed how I love to knit with blindingly colorful combinations, aka psychedelic.  I told her the reason I knit thusly is because my philosophy has always been why knit a garment which looks like something you could buy at the store?  How original is that?  But then I also admitted to her that my psychiatrist and therapist have instructed me that my disease of Bipolar is the reason for my "eclectic" taste in colors.  (To which I replied: "Good Lord, you're telling me my knitting is a 'symptom' of a disease?  Fooey on that!")

Therapists reasonings aside, she agreed with me on that point.  And then she said it..... and every knitter I know would feel the same way......

She said:  "I sure would love a pair of handknitted socks from you!"

LORD HAVE MERCY!  I wanted to scream!  AAAACK!  Was that a hint or what?!?!

When the knitting part of my brain unscrambled, I didn't commit to her request---I said tentatively: "Oh yeah, I should knit you a pair.....someday...."  But it took every ounce of self control I had not to tell her that I definitely would actually knit her a pair of socks.  I mean, I'm trying to knit Zariski right now and I want to finish it soon---so I don't want to have an actual commitment to do other knitting.

So I went home un-committed..... but it bothered me.  It bothered me for a couple of days.  And I know that you knitters will understand what I did next.

I cast on for a pair of socks for her and am knitting like crazy so they'll be finished by next Tuesday, my next dentist appointment.  The only problem is the picture below of the socks in question.  The orange of the cuff doesn't look like it in the picture but in real life it is exactly the same shade of the orange as the orange spots in the yarn of the leg.  I promise you that everything matches in real life.

I hate it when cameras don't show "true" colors!!

Anyway, that "hole" in the left sock's leg is my own made up way of making a slit for an after-thought heel.  I devised this way to do it because I absolutely abhor using waste yarn and then having to snip it later and "catch" the live stitches on needles across from each other.  I just can't stand it, I tell you.  Can't stand it.  This way I don't get an ulcer by having to do it the other way.

Anyway, I regret putting the Zariski down for a week but I simply can't refuse this request from a very nice girl.  Also, yesterday, for some stupid reason I FORGOT MY PURSE IN A SHOPPING CART at Target!  You can imagine my panic since I didn't discover the blunder till I drove all the way at home.  I tore ass at breakneck speed, back to Target, praying to the Lord all the way.  There was almost $700 in my purse as well as my cell phone.  When I got to Target I pelted inside---and found that an unknown stranger had given my purse to Lost-And-Found.  I almost cried with relief.

And I told The Lord then and there that I would pass on His blessing by doing random acts of kindness in return for His providing the kind and honest angel of a stranger who had saved my purse.

So now I'm knitting like crazy so that I finish the pair by next Tuesday.  I don't normally knit at a breakneck speed.  I knit "casually".  But this time (as on last Christmas Eve with glitter socks for my niece) I am knitting a pair as fast as I can.  Blaine commented:  "What's the big deal?  I've seen you crank out a sock in a day."  To which I replied:  "Those were HOUSE SOCKS!  Made with thick yarn and thick needles!" 

(Oh well, he's a non-knitter so he definitely doesn't understand...)

Anyhoo, wish me luck.....

(Update on my medical situation:  So far the breast surgeon's office hasn't called me about the MRI that the radiologist recommended.  I know they have to check with my insurance to see if they'll pay for it.  But I'm confident that there is no serious problem since they probably would have called me by now if it was.  Maybe it really is as the radiologist said---that no cancer was seen on the ultrasound.  Maybe they really are just benign masses.  I hope....)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Nurse is Now a Patient....


I close my eyes, oh God I think I'm falling, 
Out of the sky, I close my eyes, 

Heaven help me....

("Like a Prayer", Madonna)
(Sorry Peaches is so rude as to yawn in your face in the above picture.  She doesn't seem concerned that I practically dropped the colander right on her head---oops.)

Well anyway, I went to the surgeon.  And after she examined my poor left boob, she referred me over to Johnson County Imaging Center to get a boob ultrasound.  Fun, fun, fun.  

So, after calling Blaine to let him know where I was, I underwent the ultrasound.  Lord that hurt.  She totally SQASHED my boob with that damn wand doo-hicky.  After she was done she went to give the report to the radiologist doctor.  And he came into the room.  The first thing he said was:  "Don't be afraid that I came out to talk to you..."

And I immediately became afraid, of course.  I've had imaging done there before and the radiologist didn't come into the room to talk to me.

He said that "it doesn't look like cancer---but we need to get an MRI."

Lovely.  So I left the imaging center after they gave me a CD with a copy of my ultrasound on it.  I am completely puzzled as to why they'd give me a CD with my ultrasound on there.  What the hell?  Am I supposed to go home and play it on my CD player?  Did they put some nice background music on there?


So where it stands is that they are going to send the ultrasound report to my surgeon.  And then I have to go back and see the surgeon in two weeks unless they call me in sooner.  And at some point I'm going to get an MRI.

Do you know what?  I want to apologize to every single patient I ever had in my 22 year nursing career.  I didn't realize what a frightening thing it is to be a patient and have to trudge through the medical system to get whatever is wrong with you treated.  I should have had more empathy for my patients.  Because now that I'm on the other end of things, it stinks.  It's awful.  And it's terrifying.

So I wait.  I was told "not to worry"---and they kept telling me they didn't think it was cancer.  Okay, if it doesn't look like cancer then why order a damn MRI????  

Sigh.  Here are my buddies---they will wait with me.  Lu-Lu declined being in any pic---she was grumpy this morning. 

And here is my progress on Zariski.  I'm knitting down the second sleeve.  I'm anxious to get to the squares portion of the pattern.

And the wait begins....

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Okay, I'm frightened....


There are few things which frighten me but....this morning I'm frightened.

I have to see a consulting surgeon this morning.  I have a problem which has to be dealt with.  I can't even think of a way to cleverly joke about it.  So I'll just say it bluntly---I have a benign tumor in a breast which is increasing in size.  Last year I saw the surgeon but no surgery was recommended at that time.  But now, since it's grown some and is beginning to make that breast ache, I'm afraid of what the surgeon will say.  Will she think I should have surgery?  I'm very frightened that she will.  I'm a total scaredy-cat chicken about medical things.

Yes, I know I am an RN and should understand medical issues---but we are notoriously bad patients.  When it comes to my own medical situation, I am as ignorant as can be.

Anyway, I've been knitting like a fiend on my "Zariski".  It helps calm my nerves.  I wonder if the stupid cats know how frightened their Mommy is?  (And I don't even want to ASK why there is a catfood dish way out onto the carpet....)

One thing that is slightly positive is that the surgeon's office and hospital are only blocks away from our neighborhood's main street.  I chose things this way because they are within the "agoraphobic circle" I have created for myself.  As many of you know, I hate leaving the house to go out into the community.  And if I do go out of the house, I hate leaving my neighborhood.

God, I sound like an idiot.

Anyway, I have been doing as Elizabeth Zimmerman recommends---to knit on, with confidence and hope, through a crisis.  So here's my progress on the lovely "Zariski", knitting sideways from sleeve to sleeve.  I do love the colors---they look even more pretty in person.

Wish me luck at the surgeon's office today.....

Saturday, November 3, 2012

It's Embarassing To Be Stupid....

My heart is paralyzed,
My head was oversized,
I'll take the high road like I should.
You said it's meant to be,
That it's not you, it's me,
You're leaving now for my own good.....

(Train, "Help me, help me, 50 Ways to Say Goodbye")

(The story behind the lyrics above?  I'll never tell.  Brings up too many sad, poignant, and regretful memories...)

(There's always a story behind the lyrics I quote...)

(I'm going through a middle-aged crisis where I think back to pivotal moments of time in my life---and I wish to God I could go back there and make a different choice.  Know what I mean?)

(God, if I was still drinking alcohol I'd get a beer to cry into....)

(Now I just cry into my coffee.....)


Oh yes.  My stupidness.

As I begin "Zariski" anew, with the lovely "Linsey" yarn that Berroco sent me, I have still been agonizing night and day over the placement of the squares onto the yoke.  I just flat out couldn't understand the written instructions nor the diagram of the squares placement in the Berroco instructions booklet.  For somebody who is supposed to be smart, I've been feeling completely stupid about this whole thing.  But I discovered recently that there is a saleslady at one of our LYS' who knitted a Zariski.  

So off I went today  to the LYS in which the aforementioned saleslady works.  I wanted to ask her if I could look at her Zariski in order to fully understand how I should knit my own correctly.  This is an LYS which is soon to go out of business because the LYS owner there wants to retire.

I got to the LYS right at opening time and there were at least 15 to 20 people waiting.  Today marks the beginning of the "Retirement Sale" there---I can't believe they are closing that store, dammit.  But since  I was there, I thought I might as well check out the bargains as I clarified how to knit Zariski.

I found the particular saleslady and she brought out her Zariski.  I told her I hadn't understood the booklet's written instructions or squares diagram.  I asked for a paper and pen so I could actually sketch the garment.  She brought me a huge pad of lined paper and I began my drawings of the mysterious Zariski.

I must have fussed with that garment for over half an hour, pulling it this way and that, arranging it to and fro, making notes and trying to sketch the thing so that I'd still understand how to knit it when I got home and wasn't able to see the actual garment in person anymore.  

My first sketch wasn't that great....

So I refined my sketch and drew it again.  And again.  And again......  And fifteen sketches and about an hour later I arrived at this nice little sketch: really hate to say this....because it really shows my stupidness.....and I was dumbfounded to see it...


It is the exact same diagram as in the Zariski instructions in the Berroco booklet.

Yes---it's the same diagram.

I'll bend over now, so that anybody who wants to can kick my stupid butt.  I totally deserve it.  Here I swore up and down to Berroco that their diagram wasn't correct and that it didn't make sense, and yadee yadee yadah.... and I eventually drew their exact same diagram!

But, in my defense....I'm STUPID!!!!

Seriously, folks.  I'm stupid.  They could build monuments to my stupidity.  They could write sonnets to my stupidity.  I should quote song lyrics about my stupidity......


Oh yes....Zariski.  And so, armed with my "new" diagram, I came home and knitted on.  As Elizabeth Zimmerman always said: "Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises".  I love this quote.  And I definitely think my stupidity frequently puts me into a knitting crisis.  But, in my defense again, the saleslady at the LYS declared that she, too, had misunderstood the directions and diagram---and had found it necessary to frog part of it once.  (Either my stupidity had already infected that LYS or she's a distant relative.)

(And, speaking of crises, I'm not quite certain what fool thing put me into this damnable middle-age crisis....)

Anyhoo, here's my work on a Zariski sleeve:

And notice below that my "Linsey" yarn bag runneth over.  I picked up a few more hanks of "Linsey" at the LYS sale, even finding several hanks of a coordinating solid color.  I picked those up in case I want to put some matching picots on the end of the sleeve or a matching border of single crochet around the edges of the garment.  Or more picots.  Or some scallops.  You get the picture.  I was thankful I'd made it to the yarn sale before those hanks disappeared.

And the below picture is how Peaches deals with my crises of IQ:

(Alas....stupidity and life's choices....)

(Pardon me while I go cry into my coffee.  At least I have vanilla creamer in it....)

("My heart is paralyzed"....and on and on in the song....)

(No, I don't have to wonder where I am now.  I know where I am only too damn well....)