Tag Archives: Health

Naked and [not] afraid

“We didn’t like the way your mammogram looked. You need to come back for more imaging.”

Any woman who has ever received a call like this knows the dread that creeps into your soul. And those of us with dense breasts are more likely to get these calls.

The tech was sweet. She tried to be nonchalant but as soon as she zeroed in on one area of my breast rather than a general exploration, I knew they saw something and were on a search and discovery mission.

“But I have dense breasts. It’s nothing.” I told myself as I lay calmly. After forever of Ultrasound probing, she smiled and said she had to check images with the radiologist. A few minutes later she came back and went to town again in the target area getting more pictures. She left me once again to confer with the radiologist. And this time it seemed like forever.

Thoughts started to creep their way into my mind. “What if it is something?” I had already had biopsies in the past and know that drill and the waiting process involved. But before I could feed that fear the radiologist herself came into the room and I know enough to KNOW that something was up. She smiled and said she wanted to get the images herself and took over the Ultrasound probing of my boob. She left me alone while she went to confer with a colleague.

I was alone. For a long time. Waiting. And you know that fear that I didn’t get a chance to feed? Well it came back hungry for my thoughts. I began to think about my beautiful Mom and her battle with breast cancer. All of the images of her last days flooded my mind. I started to think about my kids and what they would have to go through. I felt my heart race, my breathing quickened and tears began to form in my eyes. Then it the midst of that torment I felt a calming peace flood my being. I smiled because I knew what was happening. Absolutely nothing.

I was feeling fear but had nothing to fear. It was all “What ifs” Simply put, fear is nothing more than Faith in the wrong kingdom.

The door opened and in walked the tech sans radiologist and informed me the radiologist(s) wanted to get a 3D frontal mammogram. I know the drill. I quickly assumed the position and up on the slab went my boob.Then I sat alone again and waited, refusing to think of anything other than the gazillion things I had to do once I got home.

Door opened and in hurried the tech who now informed me the radiologist wanted her to examine my breast. Seriously? This was a new level of service. I mean my OBGYNE regularly feels me up but a radiology tech? Brand new experience!

So I flashed her the goods and she began to position me and look for any irregularities while she yelled down the hall to the two radiologists in the viewing room viewing my films “No, everything looks good. I don’t see any dimpling or puckering or…well, it looks perfect.” I smiled proudly as I repeated “My boob is absolutely perfect.”

Still wearing the goofy perfect boob smile, I noticed the radiologist walking down the hall toward my room. She looked concerned and puzzled. Very puzzled. She proceeded to inform me that they could identify the dense tissue and where it had been biopsied before but there was an area of tunneling that they couldn’t figure out.

I echoed her word “tunneling?” Then added “As in something a nipple piercing could cause?” She nodded and replied, “Yes but we checked and you don’t have your nipples pierced.” A big, huge, perma-smile of extreme relief spread across my face and I informed her that I did BUT TOOK THEM OUT FOR THE PROCEDURE!!!!! (Because who wants to have their boob smashed while wearing metal jewelry?) She looked mortified and then relieved as she nodded and clapped her hands together. “That’s it! That explains it!!” She yelled. And the boob-probing-feeling-up-3D-mammogram-radiology-tech let out a “Oh Thank God!”

Yes, thank-you God. See, if you allow fear to have power over your mind and thoughts a simple, stupid piercing quickly becomes cancer and the belief is enforced by the actions of medical personnel and the mental and physical torment snowballs from there.

We always have a choice. Our thoughts and our actions are ours. We control them. I choose positivity and faith even though I was tempted to give the radiologist a smack down for making assumptions and not taking a better history but….positivity remember?

And again, fear is Faith in the wrong kingdom. Empower Faith, not fear.

And if all else fails, get naked

A Good Egg

I mentioned in my previous post that a beautiful person in my life, my Mom, was recently diagnosed with aggressive stage three breast cancer.  While I’m not going to give very much attention on here to this topic [because cancer sucks and doesn’t even deserve the single mention I just gave it] I do want to honor my Mom.  In fact, this honoring is going to continue well into May and Mother’s Day.  So Mom, sorry but you’ll just have to deal with the attention.

Things have not been easy these last several months for our family.  When one member is hurting, the entire family unit hurts.  But true to our nature we try to heal the hurt with humor.

It all began with a head shaving party lead by her son-in-law, Mr. Pavlov.

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Dear Lord what am I doing?!? Remember, I’ve been a good Mother-in-law….

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OY VEY! Deep breaths….

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Serious work

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Offering support. Don’t worry Mimi, that ear will grow back besides, you have two.

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The incredibly happy look and large smile worn by Mr. Pavlov is concerning.

So who knew that there’s this whole show-your-support-and-shave-your-non-cancer-head thing that people do?  My daughter and I, who are descendants of Rapunzel (I’m convinced of this fact) began to get twitchy over the nobel notion.  Just as we were about to make the huge sacrifice of losing an inch or two (I mean  an entire inch…that counts for something!) these beautiful people decided to go full blown commando shaven.

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These two are pretty super and just incase you didn’t know…this is actually the real Superman.

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Two strong women

    

It seems certain members of our tribe have developed a fondness for her numerous wigs. With each new wig comes the “ooooo” and “Ahhhh” and of course the mandatory sampling of the goods. Test driving the wig starts by yanking it off of her cute, bald head, running to the nearest mirror and usually ends in front of a camera phone. Yes, we are deplorable and social media rules.

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Sometimes you gotta strike a pose, vogue and steal your Mimi’s wig

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The wig knows no gender….

And when she finally lost her eyebrows we, of very-little-eyebrow-drawing-on- experience, were there to hook her up with brows.  Hey, that’s what family is for right?

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She’s very trusting….wonder if she prefers The Joker or Spock?

Life has a way of throwing surprise parties and when it does you want to surround yourself with people who really know you and will support you.  People who not only say, “I’m here for you during the good, the bad, the ugly” but also who back up their talk (which can be so meaningless) with hard core action.

My dad is the Arnold Schwarzenegger of action.  He has been like a mother hen caring for his chick during this nasty ordeal.  Anyone who knows my Mom quickly realizes that he has his work cut out for him.  The “chick” is strong, determined and independent.  Rest or taking it easy is not something that comes naturally to her.  She created the term “burning the candle at both ends” and goes until she can go no more.

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Yet another Chemo day and Dad is never far away.

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Valentine’s Day is not ruined by Chemo day and fatigue thanks to Dad.

And when she finally crashes, he is there as he said he would be.  These are the people you want in your corner when the battle rages.

Talk is cheap. Words are just words unless they are backed up.  Sadly, people disappoint.  I’ve had my share of disappointments recently and it is the sucky behavior people throw at you that causes you to truly appreciate and value the good eggs in your life.

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Two of my favorite eggs. My brother always did look more like her!

And I’m holding onto mine a little tighter….

I love you Mom!

A girl interrupted.

I was walking into work today deep in thought.  My mind was mauling over the previously mentioned “baggage” that 2015 is starting off with.  We, as a family have some serious decisions facing us.  I’m talking the heavy stuff but desperately wishing for the “paper or plastic?” decision making variety.

Let’s table the decision talk for awhile and face some facts.  My beautiful Mom was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer.  I’ll write more about this later but  she is a general in her faith and one of the strongest women I know.  It’s pretty sad when the “patient” (i.e. Mom) is telling the family member (i.e. Me et al.)  “I’ll be ok.”   We should be the ones encouraging her and yet, true to her nature, she continues to protectively care for us.  She has begun the long treatment process (below) while we try to be useful…if nothing else we provide the sick, distorted, dysfunctional humor to distract and deny the facts.

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But decisions are to be made and I was deep in thought.  I was also being slightly pessimistic and maybe even a little pissed over the tendency of humans to meddle in the affairs of others and create unnecessary talk.  With this talk comes wildly incorrect information and by the time it’s repeatedly circulated it becomes difficult to find even a nugget of truth in the muck.  So yeah, I was pissed.

But God understands His creation and unconditionally loves.  He is good.  This fact I know regardless of the storms around me.

In His unconditional love and understanding of my extremely pessimistic thoughts I heard a voice belt out,

Now that’s the optimism I love!!

I chuckled as I appreciated the sarcasm and then looked up to see if God Himself had appeared in the flesh to deliver me this message.  And he did.  In the form of His human creation.  A man, who was exiting the hospital and who I had failed to notice due to my self preoccupation, stood before me smiling from ear to ear.  He repeated again,

Now that’s the optimism I love!

Keep it up and maybe we’ll get somewhere.

I paused and began to laugh truly appreciating the humor of my God.  I was also at a total loss as to what in the heck this seemingly nice man was talking about.  Just as I began to wonder if he was a Psych ward escapee he saved himself with,

It’s sixty degrees out right?!?

I mean you’re not wearing a coat so it must be warm! We can hope!!

I looked down at my body clad only with thin scrubs and a lab coat just as I felt the negative temps and wind hitting my skin.  Oh yeah, a coat! Of course!  I never wear one when I’m in the hospital.  I don’t have a place to keep it and carrying it around with me all day? Not an option! So I have grown accustomed to rapidly scurrying across the parking lot before I turn into a human ice block.

Now it all made sense and I couldn’t help but marvel at the perfectly timed interaction.  My God, what a God!  I am truly thankful that He knows us and uses everyday occurrences to speak.  I am always willing to be a girl interrupted…by God!

I am not God (shocking, I know) but in my humanness I’m going to speak.  To all of those people who like to meddle, gossip, and delight in the misfortune of others…I feel sad for you.  Sad that your life is not full enough to enjoy.  But they say a picture is worth a thousand words and I believe my daughter actually says it the best…

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Live your own life and forget about the lives of others unless you can actually offer sincere help.

Cheers!

Goodbye 2014.

And I can’t say I’m sorry to see you go.  In fact, I thick my foot got prematurely lodged in your backside trying to hurry the process along.  I will spare you glorious readers the “Oh how my year sucked” details but here is one highlight.

My knee decided it no longer wanted to straighten.  I know, insane right?  A hinge joint deciding it no longer required to comply with the anatomical rules of operation.

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But nonetheless I found myself in the ER (above) with a stubbornly flexed knee.  After two ER docs and about 10 ortho residents and a few fellows had their manipulative way with me, I was told to follow up with the Attending surgeon.

Much to the disappointment of all the young ortho bucks, I guess the attending would get to be the one to exercise his virility and unlock the beast.  But I would like to thank a particular ortho resident.  His extremely hairy chest and gold chain beating on it with each forceful manipulation helped to momentairly distract me from the pain and I’m convinced, kept me from passing out.

I mean first, that much chest hair? Not my thing.  And secondly, how in the heck could that chain beat so freely and with such force without getting caught in all of that bush?  It was truly fascinating.

Clearly he was unaware of my voyeuristic activities or the fact that he was grunting and sweating.  I can only imagine what the scene looked like from another angle.  It would have been comical had I not been every shade of the rainbow and about to vomit from pain.

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But enough about hairy chested residents.  My temporary ride above sucked and I gained new appreciation for my legs and for the support of my family.  My daddy (above sporting the look of worry) is truly a one-of-a-kind wonderful man and second to none.  He has always been my hero and I shadowed him relentlessly as a kid and would probably continue to if it wasn’t so creepy.   But let’s face it, good men are worth shadowing.

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It was love at first perma skin mark between me and the ortho attending.  He had me at “GA Yes.” Rather than spreading my legs and contorting me into the various pretzel formations that his younger, inexperienced counterparts attempted, he decided to give me good drugs and take care of business arthroscopic style.  And the fact that he marked the correct body part to invade was a huge bonus for this girl.

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Someone should’ve told anesthesia to keep the good drugs running because when I finally came to pain had been playing on my playground for awhile.  And anyone who knows anything about pain knows that once it gets ahead of you it is game over…pack your bags….time to find a drug dealer and shoot up heroine.

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I spent much time on the couch during my recovery.  And as all mothers can confirm, our children are never far away.  I’m extremely thankful for the rare occasions that I’ve been able to poop in private.  In fact, my bowels literally shut down when there’s not a kid competing for attention.  We’re taking full blown constipation until a child returns to get things jump started again.  I think I’ll require bowel retraining when they all leave for college.

During one of my many moments on the couch I happened to look over and there was under ware clad Tres lighting up the room with his moon.

“Laughter doeth good like a medicine” (Prov 17:22) and I had much medicine that day.

2015, you’re starting off with some baggage but I believe that you have the makings of greatness in you.  So goodbye 2014, don’t let my foot cause you too much discomfort on the way out….hello 2015!

Unusual Junkies

Although I no longer look like I should have meat on my face, my eyes continue to provide a mating ground for some nasties who I’m sure don’t practice safe sex.  We just can’t shake this.  We are on round…I lost count…of antibiotics drops (yes, we are junkies) and Mr. Pavlov (who boasts about his optimum state of health) had to go on the pill, (no, not THAT pill) an antibiotic pill because this bug knocked him O.U.T!  His tonsils were even gettin’ it on with some major kissing and I won’t even tell you what his lungs were doing but they rocked my bed all night long with their activity.  Eventually he went to the couch so he could cough it up in peace (I seem to have an involuntary back slapping reaction to snoring and in this case, his cough qualified as equally disruptive.)

The red-eyed vamps in Twilight have nothing on our crew when we are off of our drops and the STD super bug breeding resumes.

Truly, I am at a loss.  We are ok as long as the drops are dropping.  As soon as we finish the course within a few days we are vampy red, oozing and irritated again.  I have done everything I know to do and the bleach bottle is never far from my grasp.  This house and everything in it has been scrubbed,  bleached, washed or thrown away.

Even the Doctors are at a loss.  Aside from thinking (I can read their clear, white eyes) that we are a bunch of antibiotic junkie dirt balls who, among other things, finger each other’s eyes and then rub our own for fun, they don’t have much to say and are pretty much out of antibiotic options.

I wonder what they would think if I dumped Mr. Pavlov’s newly purchased Cocoa Vino in my eyes.  Aside from burning my eye tissue out, ulcerating my corneas and possibly causing blindness, the alcohol should kill the bugs right?  Or maybe they would enjoy it a little too much and breed more aggressively?

Regardless, my Cocoa Vino awaits.  And I intend to show this Tootsie roll with a kick beverage the respect it deserves and maybe kill a few cruddy bugs in the process.

Cheers!

 

When bugs grow muscles

Remember back in the day when a cold was a cold?  Or when the flu was the flu? Or when pink eye was pink eye?  And you toughed it out until AND only until an antibiotic was absolutely necessary.

But somewhere along the way we decided to eat antibiotics like chocolate covered pretzels (my personal favorite) and now we have birthed little demon superbugs.

Yes, today we have these things called superbugs and they flex their resistant genetic coding at our feeble dwindling antibiotic supply and laugh as we cough and swell.

Why am I so bitter you ask?  Well a superbug decided to take up residence in my darling son’s eye and has now spread to the entire family in spite of our neurotic hand washing techniques.  See that’s the evil in all of this…you don’t have to be an antibiotic abuser to get a superbug.  Once created, you can pick these demons up just by having a having a heart beat.

Yeah, pink eye is no longer the simple red colored eye with gooey drainage.  This baby has morphed into something fierce and requires a nuclear strength antibiotic because the usually prescribed Ofloxacin doesn’t even tickle it.  But I didn’t know this valuable piece of info and just went with the Ofloxacin (because I hate to use the big guns until I try the first line).  Why go nuclear when a machine-gun is likely to do the job?  But I really needed nuclear and knew this when the fun began and my eye swelled shut.  To make things more fun, the other one became infected too.   A Family Practice colleague informed me of the superbug and prescribed me something much stronger.  Thanks to her I can now open my eye!

Take a look…

And this is looking good!!!

Those aren't bags under my eyes but pockets of swelling. It was swollen shut but at least here I can open it!

I am on the mend and thankful that these things can still be killed but I must admit I am a little concerned about what will happen when we run out of antibiotics to kill these bacterial critters.  So people please use antibiotics sparingly…like when your eye swells shut or something!  And if your health care provider wants you to wait to see if what you have could be viral before prescribing antibiotics agree to wait.  And take the entire prescription until it is GONE.  Do Not save half for “later” because this action breeds resistance.

I’d like nothing better than to emasculate these bugs and take their muscles away.

Of course they are male.  Don’t ask.  I just know.

 

The verb that protects and preserves.

February 14th signals the return of Valentine’s Day and this year I am celebrating the holiday and the love it represents with all of my beating heart.

Love was.  Love is.  Love always will be.  I cannot think of a greater force than love.

Love was the driving force for our creation and Jesus taking on the cross, spilling his blood, and sacrificing His life in order that we may live.  If you can’t comprehend this love act then just ask yourself “What would I do to save my child or family member? Would there be a limit or would I risk it all?”

Mr. Pavlov and I got to answer this question Friday night when our gas stove was not turned all the way off and caused gas to slowly flow into our home over a three-hour period while our 15-year-old daughter was home alone.  When we returned home and opened the door attached to the garage downstairs, the strong gas fumes overwhelmed us and we suddenly became aware that proceeding further could result in our death.  Although none of us spoke it, we knew that at any minute the home could explode. Yet the three of us charged into danger without any regard for ourselves because love was compelling us.

Without being instructed to do so our 12-year-old son lead the way into the dangerous fumes. And as I watched him disappear bounding up the steps two at a time in order to get to the stove to quickly shut it off, it was then that my heart skipped a few beats and I prayed “Dear God please do not let this house explode.”  Love does not look out for its own interests.  Love. was. present.

Love is each day and in each God-given breath.  And I knew that the Lord’s merciful love would conquer as I watched Mr. Pavlov and our son drag the unresponsive and unconscious body of our daughter out of the house.  Father and son working together to preserve life while possibly having to lie down their own.

Love is a powerful verb.  It always protects.  It always trusts.  It alway hopes.  It never gives up.  Love never fails. (I Cor 13:7)  God’s love did not fail us that horrid night.  Our daughter survived.  We survived.  The house did not explode but the emergency workers did close down the street in front of our home for a few hours to contain any blast should one occur (it is a good thing that I didn’t fully comprehend the reason they were blockading the street at the time)…sorry neighbors.

Love always will be.  Suppose I have enough faith to move mountains.  If I don’t have love I am nothing at all.  I had faith that Jesus would preserve our daughter but it took love to bring her out of the house.  I am thankful for God’s unfailing, unconditional, unwavering love and our daughter is thankful for ours.

Now we see only a dim likeness of things.  It is as if we were seeing them in a mirror.  But someday we will see clearly.  We will see face to face.  What I know now is not complete.  Someday I will know completely, just as God knows us completely.  The three most important things to have are faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of them is love (I Cor 13:12-13)

Love, a little verb that protects and preserves.  I believe it deserves its own holiday.  How about it?  Let’s celebrate some LOVE!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!