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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mammograms, Sonograms, Breast Exams Oh My!

About 6 weeks ago I had my first mammogram done. I know lots of women complain that it is painful experience. Carleen, my assistant, who's more like a sister to me, warned me as well. She also gave me a tip to take 1000 IU of Vitamin E starting 1 weeks before the exams and that will help with the pain. I don't know if it was the Vitamin E or the fact that I was just well blessed was amble cushioning in that area, but it wasn't too bad. The woman who took the pictures was also very quick, so the pressure wasn't on them for very long. Anyway, I left think that wasn't so bad.

About a week later, maybe not even that long, I get a call from one of the nurses in the office. They found two small masses on the mammogram and they want me to come in for more pictures and a sonogram as soon as I can. After I get the sonogram the doctor wants me to make an appointment to come in for a breast exam exactly 4 weeks late. The nurse stressed that it was very important that my appointment be exactly 4 weeks after the sonogram. Yes, panic attack sets in. She's trying to tell me not to worry, that is probably nothing, but they want to be sure. So there I was in my office at work, taking deep breaths, trying not to panic and get my blood pressure up and trigger a migraine.

I call the radiology department and set up another appointment, it was the days before my trip out to Chicago. I go in and the woman taking the x-rays was trying to tell me not to worry. This is my first mammogram and they want to get a good baseline to compare to for later mammograms. Then she goes on to try and explain all the "other" non-worrisome things these masses can be and that these more direct pictures and the sonogram with help them determine if it's just a simple cyst or something other such non-cancerous mass. She was really pleasant and I felt somewhat put at ease, but there's still that little something in the back of mind that says "what if."

Let's face it, I had just spend two years dealing with a gyno who just kept switching my birth control when I was complaining of certain female problems instead of examining me. Finally I had enough and switch insurances and had to go to a different doctor to know I even had fibroids and yet another doctor who was willing to do the surgery to remove them. And I went through 2 Orthopedics before one could diagnose my knee issue correctly. Can you blame me for being a little weary when it comes to medical issues.

OK, so 2nd mammogram done, sonogram done, 4week appointment made. I can relax now. You would think right. No, the morning I am to fly out to Chicago I get a phone call from the radiology department - they wanted me to come down that day for another sonogram. OK - Now panic sets in. I'm suppose to leave for Chicago in 4 hours, I have the A/C man coming out the house in 30 minutes to clean the unit and get it running for the summer heat and now this. I'm flustered and furious and panicked and can't think straight. My first reaction was to tell the woman there was no way I could come in today - that I was leave for vacation in a few hours and I would come in as soon as I got back.

After I got off the phone I laid in my bed and just let the thought run ramped through my head as I went a little numb. After about 30 minutes I got dress and packed everything I needed for the airport into my car. When the A/C man arrived I let him get to work and then I called my sister and talked to her about it all. She sounded concerned that they called they that as well and asked me what I was going to do. I told her that as soon as the AC man was done, I would head to the clinic, get it done and then head to the airport. I should make it in time since I wouldn't have to wait at the clinic. They said they would take me as soon as I got there.

So, that's what I did. The A/C man left at 10. I went to clinic and was done and out of there by 11Am and on my way to the airport for a 1:20PM flight with plenty of time. I asked the woman who was doing the sonogram why did they call me back in and if they found something yesterday that alarmed them. She said that they didn't catch the masses on the sonogram very well and they just wanted to make sure. Then she said don't be surprised is they request to see you back here in 6 months. I thought that was a little strange if it was "nothing."

I tried to put this out of my mind till the 4 week appointment. No use in worrying till you know, right? *So instead I did a breast exam on my right breast every other day trying to feel these two lumps* I get the radiologists report during this time frame. One report states 2 small masses in the right breast and then another report states the left breast. Talk about mixed messages! But all the extra pictures and the sonograms were done on the right breast, so I was pretty sure these two masses were in the right one or the radiologist needs more then writing lessons. I'm sure we all know how well that works. It wasn't that this was exactly at the forefront of my mind all the time, but you know how it is. I was good, I didn't go surfing the net to try and find any and every article on breast lumps and cancer and false alarms.

Then the day of my appointment comes. My doctor reads over the reports and does another back-asswards way of trying to calm a patience's fear. "It's probably nothing, just Fibrocystic breasts, but I do want you to get a 2nd opinion and see a specialist. Someone who does nothing but breasts and can really tell. After all you are in a high category for breast cancer since you are overweight and haven't had any children." Then he was explain how it was funny that they even messed up when they wrote the reports and pointed out how on one report they stated it was the right breast and on the other report they stated it was the left. I mean he was actually laughing over it. Me, yeah, not so much. I didn't think it was that funny. I never did figure out why it was so imperative that I wait 4 weeks to make my appointment with him after having the 2nd mammogram. Didn't make any sense after that appointment.

So, on my way home from that appointment I immediately called my gyno, the one that finally really listened to me about my other issues, and left her a message about what was found on my mammogram and that I would really appreciate her taking a look at the results and her opinion of what I should do from here, and if she could recommend a specialist to go to for a 2nd opinion. I left a message with all the details and waited. In the meantime, I contact the breast clinic the my doctor suggests and made an appointment with someone for this Friday.

I spoke with my gyno yesterday and said that the masses are very small, but that she wants me to get a 2nd opinion. I told her which clinic my regular Doctor recommended and asked her if she recommended any of the doctors that worked there and she gave me two names. The appointment I had was with one of the doctors she recommended, but when I looked up both names today, the other one had a focus on breast surgery, so I switched my appointment to her and now my appointment is on Monday. What's a few more days of trying not to worry, right?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Finished Projects Updates

Yikers! I have been a very bad blogger when it comes to posting my finished projects. I just scrolled back and realized I hadn't posted a finished project since May!! Bad me!! (Sorry Ellen!! - have to say that before she chastises me at knitting group ;) )

OK, first up is the Gail shawl. I loved knitting this shawl as it was very different from any of my other previous shawls. I may actually knit this one again as a Christmas gift for someone else, but this one I am definitely keeping for myself!

Pattern: Gail (Nightsongs) Rav link
Yarn: Fresh from the Cauldron - Silk Sock
Colorway: The Volturi
Needles: KnitPicks Harmony size 8
Modifications: completed 7 repeats and then the edging. The pattern called for a double YO at the center stitch. I thought that made to large of a stitch and changed it to a single YO.

Here's a nice close-up of the motif. Believe it or not, the yarn is a variegated colorway. The dyer blended the colors so smoothly and the changes are soft enough that it worked beautifully in this lace pattern. I couldn't have been happy with the results!


Here's an outside shot so you can see the colors a little better.


Next up are just a few dishcloths. I was on a kick. I had made one for my sister a while back and last time I was over her house I noticed that it was seriously on it's last life! So I gave her the top two that are pictures and I kept the bottom two for myself. I'm thinking of making a whole bunch more and giving them as part of family Christmas gifts this year.

Chinese Waves dishcloth Flicker Flames dishcloth

Octagonal Swirl dishcloth 100_2322

Next up, I test knitting a baby sweater pattern for my friend Sheila over at Wullenstudio and Sheila Rovelstad Designs. What a fun knit and you can knit the smallest size with one skein of her sock yarn!! I made this sweater to give as a baby gift for my cousin's wife, who is pregnant, but they are holding out till the baby is born to find out if the child is a boy or a girl. Since the sweater design really leans more toward a girl I"m holding on to it and going to start a more boyish sweater here soon.

Bebe Sweater
Pattern: Bebe Sweater (test knitted the pattern for Sheila Rovelstad Designs)
Yarn: Wullenstudio Sock Yarn
Colorway: Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys

Needles: KnitPicks size 2 (30 mm)

Bebe Sweater

Lastly is a birthday gift for my friend - KnitRedSox. OK, so she's a July baby and a wool cowl isn't really ideal - BUT there's a good reason for this. She has just recently moved back to the Chicago area and the winters up there can be brutal, so it will be put to good use in a few weeks I'm sure ;) Plus, her favorite color is purple! (Miss you Girl!!)

I cannot tell you how many times I frogged and started this cowl over because it just didn't look like it was coming out right. I looked on Ravelry on other people's project pages and no one had any comments about errors or anything, so I casted on again and worked through one full repeat during at a knit night. I showed some of the gals there the directions and what was coming out on my needles and it wasn't looking like the picture on the pattern. Finally I gave up for the night and decided to give Ravelry another look-see in the morning. On the actual project page is where I saw a more explicit explanation of the pattern directions and finally understood the pattern, but thought the pattern directions could have been written more clearly to reflect that! Well, I was finally able to get the cowl finished and the birthday package put all together and shipped out :)

I just may have to make one of these cowls for myself as well!!
Storm Cowl
Pattern: Darkside Cowl Rav link
Yarn: 100Purewool
Colorway: Storm
Needles: KnitPicks Harmony size 8
Modifications: none

House Projects Crossed Off the List

Well, one-by-one I am slowly crossing off projects on what seems to be the ever growing list of house projects. As you may recall from Plumbing Disaster No. 2, my yard looked like a tornado had come through. Literally. I walked out each morning for work expecting to see two stripped stocking legging sticking out from under my house. Frisco thought I was crazy when I asked him if saw the Lollypop Kids. Anyhoo, one thing at a time - right.

Project no. 1:
Well, I called around and found a handyman that would haul away all the roots and stumps and for me. He even went around the yard to get the roots and sticks that didn't make it into this nasty pile. Now you see it...


Now you don't!


Now I just need to figure out what to do from here. There are still lots of chips lefts from when the stumps were ground down when the tree were removed last summer (summer '08) and I the ground needs to be leveled off some to make mowing easier and I need to bring a whole bog load of topsoil to plant new grass properly - cha-ching. I just don't know how I'm going to afford all of this right now. I was talking to a friend, Ellen, at knitting yesterday and she made a great suggestion of having what she calls a "Garden Party." Apparently her church has them. You invite friends over to help you landscape and when all the work is done you have a party afterwards as a thank-you. I told her I would have to talk to her more about this because this sounds like an idea :)

At least this little guy is enjoy my backyard even if I am not!


Project no. 2:
I can cross off my list is the nice hold in my basement slab that the plumbers left behind as well! This was a lovely reminder of what needed to be done every time I went down into my basement to clean the litter box or do laundry.


Yesterday, I went straight home after meeting up with my Saturday morning knitting group because Kozykitty's husband, David, was coming over to help me patch up my basement slab. Actually, he did most of the work, while I asked all the questions and watched and be very grateful. Two hours later, the hole looked like this:


Afterwards, I gave KK a ring and told her to come over for a late lunch or an early dinner. While we were waiting David was giving me some suggestions for the backyard. All it cost me was a Miller High Life, a Chinese Dinner, and time spent with friends - well worth it. Thank you David!!!

Project no. 3:
After KK and David left, I decided to start tackling the front yard. You may recall that the plumbers left it in quiet a mess. They really did a very shitty job with the yard the 2nd time around. There were rocks every were!


And rocks are not good if you intend to plant grass. The rocks are good for filling up hole that is in front of my porch though. Not that these rocks were going to be enough, but they would be a start and someplace easy to put the rocks :) So, I got out the rake and tackled the front yard. Looks a lot better doesn't it?


I raked the rocks all up and pushed what I could under the piece of blue plywood and next to the ramp to fill up the hole. I'm calling around to get estimates for replacing the concrete walkway now.


My mother keeps trying to suggest that my father will come down and do it, but I don't think she understands that this isn't a small project, nor is it really a one man project. Of course when I try telling her this her response is, "well you and I will help him." and my thoughts to that are *great and I'll be in jail for man-slaughter because I'll end up killing you both before the day is over* That is just a disaster waiting to happen. So you can see the rush in getting the estimate for the concrete work. How do you tell your Mother - "Mom, if you really want to help, just write me a check for the contractor."

That is it on the house projects for now. I am sure more will be coming :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Secret Pal Goodies

I recevied my first Secret Pal package last week. I must apologize to my pal that it has taken me almost a week to blog about it, although I had send a thank email immediately. My camera batteries were dead and couldn't take pictures till yesterday.

I came home from work to fine this package from the Loppy Ewe sitting on my front porch. It threw me for a loop because I didn't remember placing any orders in the last week. I racked my brain and then thought I must be losing it! When I saw the Secret Pal note inside understand washed over me - and relief that I hadn't lost my marbles :)

I received this beautiful skein of Handmaiden Seasilk!! Yummy!! And look at those colors, teal, turquise, hot pink - hubba-hubba!! Now to find the right pattern!! Along with this yummy yarn was a handy-dandy keychain to check needle sizes and guage! Yes that FOUR letter word G-U-A-G-E ;) and a packet of SOAK. A knitter can never have too muck Soak!!


Thank you Secret Pal!!

If anyone has a pattern suggest, I'd love it if you would leave a comment :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Chicagoland Visit

So, after the sewer fiasco I needed a getaway. Granted, I had purchased my plane tickets back in May when I thought everything was fixed and done and over with. Never in a million years did I think I'd be leaving my yard in such disarray, but as the saying goes - "Life happens when you make plans."

Baby M was hitting the 18 month mark which means Mr. X was getting his first official full weekend with her and he planned for it to be during the week that I was going to be in town. I can't believe how much she has grown! She looks just like her daddy. On Saturday, we went out to Plainfield and visited with my friends Suzanne and Conrad and their two kids. It was so nice to see them again! I know it's only been two weeks since they moved back up there, but I feel like it's been two months since she's moved away. I miss not having my girl around the corner from me!

It was really neat watching the kids play together. Baby M got all excited when Suzanne brought the dogs out. She just loves dogs, or as she says "Pup-Ies!" I think the funniest part of the afternoon was when Baby M would pretend she was sleeping and she would make these snoring sounds likes like she was asleep. I had heard her do this Friday night and early that day, so I didn't think anything of it. I actually thought she was immitaing her father sleeping but, shhhhhhhhh I never told him that. Apparently he had never heard her do this before so I think he was slightly embarrassed and Suzanne was cracking up everytime she did it! I thought it was adorable! Here are a few pics from my visit. Regretably, I didn't take very many pictures this time. Saying Goodbye gets a little harder with each visit *sniffle*

Chicago June 2009

I know Suzanne is hoping I could make it back up there for the weekend of July 17th so that we could go to the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair, and I keep checking the airlines every few days, but I don't think it's going to happen this year :( . It's a shame too, because I'd really love to see everyone again and that fair just sounds like it would be so much fun. Maybe not up to par with the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, but I sure just as much fun! I'm hoping to maybe get back up there in August when I have a break between summer school and regular school, but we shall see. There's always Stitches Midwest in September - not exactly a festival, but yarn overload just the same :)