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My Mammogram Adventure

The last 10 days have been hell. If you’ve been around here at all, you already know my mother who is in the early late stage of Alzheimer’s disease lives with us and much of what that entails. You probably don’t know that I’m the “responsible party” for my elderly aunt as well.

At 10:30 pm 10 days ago, I got a call from my aunt’s neighbor that she was being taken to the hospital “because her legs gave out.” Well, this is a big long story in itself which I’m not going to go into. Let’s just suffice it to say that there were a number of things wrong, she’s now in rehab for physical therapy for at least a month, maybe longer and this probably serves as the “event” that will take away her independence (i.e., force her into assisted living).

So the last 10 days have been filled with daily trips to the hospital and many trips to her house to take care of her business, phone calls to friends, businesses, and conversations with doctors, nurses and social workers.

Sprinkled in between were my mammogram one day and a stress test and ultrasound for me the next. All standard appointments set up long before my aunt ended up in the hospital. Oh, and of course still taking care of my mom and my kids and trying my best to stay on top of things at work.

The stress was building to be sure. I’m strong, but, really, we all have our limits.

I reached mine yesterday when I got the call that I needed to go back for more images because they saw something on my mammogram that was suspicious and they wanted to take another look. Now, this happened last year. I freaked out a little then, my husband went with me just in case it was bad news, but it turned out to be nothing. So, under normal circumstances, this call would have been no big deal. But, I wasn’t operating under normal circumstances. I was teetering on the edge of keeping it together and this pushed me right over.

I cried and cried and cried. In front of my children (wrong, stupid, wrong, bad mother moment). I reassured them with my words the best I could, but of course the emotion they had witnessed made a bigger impression. My focus went out the window and I cried even more. I was a wreck.

I asked for prayers on Facebook–both my personal profile and my “secret group” that is only for my virtual team of colleagues–it’s our water cooler. More than 30 of my friends commented offering prayers, laughs and encouragement. Two immediately offered to go with me (oh yeah, hubby couldn’t go because he had to take his mom to an important doctor appointment at the same time) and another offered to stay at my house with my mom and kids if I needed it. I was so touched by each and every person! The support was overwhelming.

dinnerMy boss called and asked what I wanted for dinner because it was on her. Later, last night, a colleague sent me an Amazon gift card via email with strict instructions to spend it on something to pamper myself with. I told her I might get spa products or I might end up needing socks to stuff my bras with or scarves to wrap my bald head with, but I was hoping it would go for spa products.

So, this morning, my gal pals showed up and we headed off to the hospital. They had me laughing the whole way!

I asked the mammogram lady (no idea what her job title is…it’s probably not “boob squisher” though) to look and see if I was being called back for the same reason I was last year. Yep. Same side and reason, but different spot. I felt better already!

She did her squishing and I waited while the doctor looked at the pictures.

Hallelujah! Not cancer. A “ridge of dense tissue that looks totally benign.” Did I say “hallelujah?”

So, I told my girlfriends that all was good and we headed off to breakfast with a spring in our steps. Michelle told me her husband had said he was sure it was just a shadow. Thank you, Dr. Todd!

So first to tell the masses. no cancer

Sent a text to my hubby, too. Then called home to reassure my kids. My 16 year old son answered the phone. He was very relieved to hear I was not dying but did say it would be much appreciated if I could go to the grocery store today as we are out of bread, milk and the peanut butter is almost gone. They had applesauce and pudding for breakfast.

Then he said my second son wanted to talk to me. He’s 13 and was also very relieved to hear the good report. I told him to be sure to tell his sisters when they got up that I was OK! He said, “Oh, they’re up. We’re all up. We’re cleaning the house.”

Wait! Did I say I don’t have cancer? The test results aren’t back yet. I’m going to take my friends for breakfast. You keep cleaning!!!

Funniest phone call ever!

So to recap, I was having the week from hell anyway. Then the dreaded mammogram call back and before you know it the whole town was praying for me, two of my friends dropped everything to go to the appointment with me, men around town were talking about my boobs, my boss bought me dinner, my colleague sent me a gift card to pamper myself and MY KIDS CLEANED THE HOUSE!

Well, I’m healthy, and we’re out of food. So, off to the grocery store I go! It was nice while it lasted.

 

 

 

From “Hip” to “Hip-Replacement”

I’m only 42. And just barely, I might add. That’s not so old, right?

I had two experiences today that tell me different.

First, I was feeling left out from the current facebook profile picture craze of “change your profile picture to someone famous that people have said you look like.” No one has ever really told me I look like anyone famous. But I wanted to be part of the cool group and I remembered this site www.myheritage.com that lets you upload a photo and it finds celebrities who supposedly look like you.

I tried three different photos. Most of my results were men. Lovely. The celebrity who appeared on two of my three attempts? Larry King! Can someone please take me to the nearest cliff so I can jump off?

So, I laughed about that and moved on.

To the Grammys.

My husband and I are watching for the first time in several years. We keep asking “Who’s that?” I really kept thinking how ticked off I’d be if I were all dressed up for the Grammy’s and Pink was dripping on me! And he just asked, “Are they singing something?” during a Jamie Foxx performance with Slash. (Now, for the record, we do in fact know who Pink, Jamie Foxx and Slash are.)

Though, all is not lost on us.

We let our 11 and 9 year old sons stay up and we all really enjoyed the tribute to Michael Jackson and the Bon Jovi performance. (Seriously? Their first time to perform on the Grammys? )

I guess we’re somewhere on the road from “hip” to “hip-replacement.”

Reunited

Once upon a time, 1973 to be exact, there were two little girls. They both lived in Temperance, Michigan and they were both embarking on a big adventure…Kindergarten! They both were in Mrs. Hamilton’s class at Jackman Road Elementary School.

That’s about where their similarities ended. One was full of confidence, ready to take on the world, a leader,  some would say, bossy, others would say. The other was quiet, nervous, hide-under-the-table shy. That leader (ahem, bossy one) was me. The other girl was Donna.

Somehow, probably because of my bossiness and the fact that I wouldn’t let her stay under the tableDonna and Me, Donna and I became best friends although we had nothing in common. She was your stereotypical tomboy and I was all girl. Evidence of those traits in both of us is obvious in this picture from the fourth grade. We were flowers in the school’s production of The Nutcracker. Yup, that’s me,  giddy with excitement and there’s Donna mortified over the whole tutu and tights ordeal!

She liked cars, I liked boys. She liked Kenny Rogers, I liked, well…boys.

But our friendship flourished. I remember we planned on growing up and owning a horse farm together. Then puberty set in. She still liked cars (as far as I could tell) and I really, really liked boys! And so, we drifted apart. We never had a fight or said, “I’m not going to be your friend anymore.” We just drifted apart.

I went off to college, she had a job working on cars. Something she loved. That’s the last I heard from or about Donna for awhile. Sometime in the early ’90s I heard she got married and had children (I think our moms may have gotten together, don’t remember how I knew). We saw each other once, though I can’t remember when.

Fast-forward to 2009. I joined Facebook on May 26, 2009. The only reason I joined was so I could enter a contest to win a new kitchen. But I soon found out how much fun it is. Granted, it can be a huge time-waster, but the benefits far outweigh the unfolded laundry that has resulted due to my membership.

Less than a month later, I had a friend request from Donna. I recognized her name right away and confirmed her as a friend. When I saw her profile picture, I thought it was a case of mistaken identity. She looks so different from that brown haired girl who was so disgusted about wearing a tutu! As I began to read through her news feed, I began to realize we have so much more in common than we ever did before. We both got married, though, sadly she is a widow, we both have children, we’re both stay-at-home moms, we both enjoy volunteer work. She hasn’t just come out of her shell, she shattered it.

So, today, we met for lunch. We invited our moms, too, because they had been such good friends when we were kids. We enjoyed a leisurely two-hour lunch (cut short because of other demands on our time) and I hope we can do it again!

Maybe, those kindergarten girls saw something in each other–a connection–that puberty blurred but adulthood brings back into focus. And without the wonder that is Facebook, we would never have known!

(Incidentally, I’ve also reconnected with my roommate from Adrian College, Becky, and another good friend from college, Karen, since joining. Turns out Karen’s brother lives on the street behind me! Once we reconnected, she stopped over for a surprise visit while in town seeing him.)