Sunday, October 31, 2010

Negatives and Positives


The biopsies were benign and I was finally able to get some sleep. I had so much tension in my head and neck that the pain was just horrible. After the good news, I imagined that my head was a bouncy-house and I pulled the plug. The tension collapsed like the big blow-up thing would in real life. Sweet relief.

It's interesting to imagine the worst and not have to live with it. I was ready to give up sugar (bad for cancer) and completely change my eating habits and entire life if that meant surviving a horrible prognosis. One day later I ate two cupcakes and yesterday I ate a doughnut and a little bag of cookies. What's wrong with me?

In my defense, I doubt that I would have been able to give up sugar even if my life depended on it. I like to think that I would, but I have the self control of a lion with a little yapping dog thrown into the cage. Though, I think that I'm going to give it a strong effort to make some good changes and move in the right direction. Maybe I'll cut down a lot of the sugar I eat rather than trying to eliminate it completely. And I like the idea of detoxing my body of all the gunk that accumulates and poisons me. Baby steps.

But the other revelation is in that ever-present question of "Are you living the life you should be living?" When looking at the potential legacy you're going to leave behind and how you want people to remember you and will you pass away with regrets or not, I liked the self-examination for the most part. Other than believing I could live healthier and exercise more (who of us can't do a better job?) I think the only thing I don't do that I want to do is write. Write more. Write what I have in me rather than what just comes out. I want to write what I have the potential to write and not just what is easy for me to write.

I've been contemplating doing the NaNoWriMo again. I won a few years ago and I LOVED the sense of accomplishment. In case you don't know what it is, it's National Novel Writing Month in November. To win, you must write a novel in the month of November (and only in the month of November). And because of the first one I did, I can say that I wrote a novel. I haven't ever re-read the thing, and couldn't tell you if it was any good, but for me the accomplishment is huge. Huge.

So along with my violin lessons and sewing hobby, I'm going to continue on my path of personal pursuits and live more fully with conscious choices for self-fulfillment. Care to join me?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Insomnia, Superstition and Obsession

Yeah. I haven't been sleeping. And contrary to whether Feng Shui is baloney or not, my bed will not fit any other way in my room. I'm sure I'll be fine if I just look at this like it's a superstition, which it probably is. I don't believe that walking under ladders is bad luck and I love when black cats cross my path. I chase them down to pet them!

I slept more last night than I have been lately. I woke up once in the middle of the night but I went back to sleep right away instead of staying awake for hours as is usually the case. I still haven't heard the results of my biopsies. I can't stop thinking about the possibilities.

An interesting thought that I have been mulling over is that even if this is nothing, I should change some aspects of my lifestyle to prevent it from coming back. I would really like to obsess about a new subject for a while. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Feng Shworry Schwart

I Love Lamp spoke in a comment about rearranging her house. What a funny coincidence. I was up - not sleeping - in the wee hours of the morning thinking about rearranging my bedroom. It's actually an our bedroom. Shared as if the other people and animals had no where to go, but we call it the master bedroom as if it's only for the masters.

I'm going to have another biopsy done at 10:30 this morning. Did the melanoma spread? Did they just not get it all? Is it some strange coincidental random freckle that isn't melanoma at all? I don't know. I imagine the worse, which makes me think of purely morbid and depressing things about mortality being NOT immortality. But the other thing that comes to mind is Feng Shui.

I'm almost more embarrassed to admit that I give some credence to Feng Shui than I am that I believe in ghosts. And horror-scopes.

But regardless, my secret is out. Our bedroom is set up with bad Feng Shui. The door forms an arrow that points right at me. Is it any coincidence that I've been having health issues since we moved in here? First the vertigo now this.

Later that day...

The doctor didn't think my new spot was anything but took a biopsy so that I can sleep at night. Of course, we talked about how the last one didn't look like anything either. We'll see in a week. And maybe my husband will humor me by letting me rearrange the room. Whatever helps this worry wart sleep, eh?

The question now would be how. There isn't any other logical way for it to be arranged, so that ought to be interesting!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day Dreaming of Day Cleaning

I'm going to tell you another scary thing that happened to me. Just last night, I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't fall back asleep. While I was tossing and turning in the dark, I started thinking about cleaning my house. Is it still day dreaming if you're doing it at night?

The weirdest part was that it was almost like I couldn't wait to get up the next day to do it. I envisioned my dining room free from all the stacks of paper that seem to multiply when not chaperoned. I had the girls' homework from last year sitting out. Seeing how this school year's homework is religiously getting tossed almost as fast as it comes in, I figured that throwing out last year's would catch me up quite a bit. I packed up art work in specially designated boxes and even captured some orphaned pieces that were randomly strewn in my laundry room. I'm getting a pain just from patting myself on the back so much!

And I moved all of my sewing downstairs. I had previously cleared a spot in my office for my sewing machine and now the machine is home. It had been sitting on my dining room table for these last two months. I like it there, but with all the accouterments that accompany it and my growing stash of fabric and projects, it was starting (long past starting, actually) to clutter me to death.

There is still a lot to do. There are two horizontal surfaces that need clearing still, though, there aren't any spider webs in this area of the house. My dog missed most of the fun because he was taking himself for a walk at the time. He likes to bark hysterically at me while the vacuum is running. He's so fierce that I just have to jab at him, too, just to see the shocked look on his face when he feels the bit of suction on his fur.

With only one more hour until it's time to pick up the small children from school, I can't decide what to do. Should I stay productive or should I blow it off and only finish to 90% complete like I always do?

Friday, October 08, 2010


Today I was getting ready for work when I checked out my scar. I have really been ignoring it because it's become normal to ignore my upper arm. I mean, how often to do check out your own biceps? Today I looked down and saw a new freckle.

My world just stopped revolving for a moment.

You see, I don't think it was there before. And when my oncologist told me on my birthday that he didn't think my surgeon took a wide enough excision of the melanoma, I've been waiting to see if I need another surgery. The whole time, knowing that if I didn't need another surgery, I would forever be wondering if they made the right call and if I did need another surgery, it would suck.

The melanoma tumor sends out shoots that pop up a bit further out from the original tumor. That's how it spreads. Or, I should say, one of the ways it spreads. By taking a wide excision, they ensure that any shoots are taken out, too. So, does a new freckle mean that my excision wasn't wide enough and I've got another melanoma? Is it just a freckle? Was it there before and I just don't remember?

Then, if I recall correctly, I might have been a little numb under my arm - where the lymph nodes came out - but I don't remember being sore. I've had soreness under my arm for about a week and ignoring it - thinking it must be just the nerves coming to life. How long has it been, anyway? But combine the two and I have a day where all I can think about is the Return of Worry.

It doesn't even matter if it's something or nothing. I'm going to be like this forever, aren't I? Always vigilant, always paranoid. Always wondering. And never able to let my guard down. Ever.

I'm supposed to see the oncologist in a couple of months anyway. I've been debating whether to wait and see or to jump up and wave my flag, "Hey! Somethings different!" I don't like either option, really. And yes, I know what I need to do. I'm just going to stew on it a couple more days. It's the weekend anyway. Maybe I'll forget by Monday, but I doubt it.

And in case you're wondering why I'd be paranoid about a little freckle - that's how the other one started. It wasn't some dark nasty obvious melanoma, just some light brown freckles that appeared where they hadn't been before.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Running Down The Dream

I did something a little crazy yesterday. I rented a violin. My husband and I made both of our girls choose a musical instrument to play and take lessons on this year and they both settled on the violin. I was secretly thrilled because I have always loved it. I have told the story over and over - without even trying to hide my bitterness - that when I was in 3rd Grade, some kids came to my class and played violin for us. I loved it even then. 

I told my dad that I wanted to play and he told me I was too old. Too old. 3rd Grade. I wonder what he would say now that I'm in my (ahem) 20's. (Okay, 30's.) (Alright, alright. I'm in my 40's and a far cry from 3rd Grade.)

I've always had the opinion that you are who you are and you can't think of age as an obstacle. Of course I never thought of my height - at 5'2" - as an obstacle either, but my track coach in high school still wouldn't let me do the high jump for being too short. Water under the bridge, I guess. But if you put off your goals or desires because you're too old, just think how you'd be in four-years without having tried it. You'd just be four-years older without accomplishing anything. 

So, I got my violin and I'm going to set up lessons and I feel so much more excited about it than I'm sure my kids are. But yay me! 

Saturday, October 02, 2010


Tonight when I was driving home, and nearly here, I saw a raccoon lumbering across the street. It was the sort of walk that you instantly recognize, like being able to pick your spouse out of a crowd for reasons you just can't put your finger on - except for familiarity.

Last night I was driving home, and was nearly here, when I saw something that caught my eye. It turned out to be a skunk. There was something about it that made me look because cats just don't move that way.

So with those critters out of the way, I wanted to tell you about the spiders that I saw in Tahoe. The first one was odd. I just looked down on my bike after having ridden about three miles and saw it scurrying down a cable. I was off or got off (don't remember exactly now) and took a twig to knock it to the ground. I lost it at that point but I never intended to kill it - so I hope I didn't.

Riding a bit further, I looked up ahead to see a tarantula the size of my husband's hand on the side of the trail. It was that same sense of familiarity in seeing that thing with the way its legs curl just so. I kept riding towards it just staring in disbelief. As I got closer, it ran at me full speed. Actually, it turned out to be a rock, but I swear I thought it was a tarantula!

The last spider was just floating through the air. It makes me think of Charlotte's Web and how Charlotte's little babies just float away to find a new home. It was wiggling about on that thread like it was trying to swim up from the deep end of the pool. It made me wonder about the first one. Initially, I had thought I brought the spider with me from Spiderland here. After seeing the other one floating by, though, it made more sense that it just landed on my bike.

The last time I was up at Tahoe at this time of year, I was out golfing and saw hundreds of ballooning spiders. It was unbelievable. It must be the season.

My final critter story doesn't have anything to do with a bear. My husband saw a bear when he was up there earlier in the week, but I didn't see one. No, I saw a small red squirrel chasing a big grey squirrel. It was the oddest thing. It was something that really strikes you as odd as you're watching it and can't believe you're watching it. Like when the birds were dive-bombing my cat when she came with me to walk my dog.

Thems critters for you!