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By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
and while many of these type things blip right by my mental radar, this year it's personal, and not just because I have boobs.
During my annual pap smear early this year I told my OBGYN about a pea size lump I had found in my right breast. He surprised me by immediately sending me to see a breast surgeon. Now while I would love to tell you that I was strong and unwavering in my faith, I was filled with doubt and anxiety after I was then sent for a routine mammogram and the radiologist seemed gravely concerned and told me I needed both an MRI and a biopsy. I didn't tell my family about any of the tests because it was all so uncertain. I am blessed with great health, as well as great health insurance, and fortunate in that I've never had to go through any type of medical testing. There is no history of breast cancer in my family.
Thankfully the results from the core biopsy I had on my right breast as well as a lymph node back in March showed that I had nothing to worry about.
The pea size lump disappeared and turned out to be nothing but fatty tissue and the larger fibrocystic mass that the radiologist I had seen (after the breast surgeon I'd seen had said everything looked fine) was concerned about turned out to be benign. I sported one scary looking bruised Frankenboob for a month or so, but it was a small price to pay for knowing I was healthy.
I did a lot of research while waiting for all my test results. I read about breast cancer risk factors
and was surprised to find out that having your first child after age 30, as I did, is a risk factor, as well as is taking oral contraceptives.
I have a six-month follow up mammogram this month. Am I looking forward to it? Not really, but getting felt up by a total stranger is worth knowing that I am in the clear and that I will be here for a long time to drive my family crazy, not to mention love them like crazy.
Help spread the word about breast cancer awareness. Early detection is key (and eight out of ten breast lumps are benign!) Who knows, you might even help save a life.
Some facts and links:
From the Breast Cancer Site
: If detected early, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer exceeds 95%. Mammograms are among the best early detection methods, yet 13 million U.S. women 40 years of age or older have never had a mammogram.
Check out Think Before You Pink
or this great USA Today article
for information on how you can shop for a cause!
Horchow's website features fun think pink kitchen items
so you can cook and entertain for a cause.
Coldwater Creek has several "In the Pink"
Design-Her-Gals has also launched the first ever virtual walk
to raise money to help those diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer (with a minimum donation of just $3.)
Read more from Blonde Mom Jamie on her blog, Blonde Mom Blog.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
When Alex got his puppy Asher I made it clear to everyone, especially to myself, that this was not my dog. I griped about him, even as I l went home three times a day to check on him. Even as we built him a fence in the back yard so he would have lots of room to play, and run around and be a happy little puppy. I apologized when I called my sisters and asked them to please come over and visit Asher so he wouldn’t be lonely during the day because after all, he is very much a people-person dog.
In the morning as I drank my coffee and tried to read the paper while Asher nipped my leg for attention, or when he stopped eating his breakfast and came over for some hugs and love before he finished, I told him (in baby-talk of course), “Don’t think that just because you’re the cutest little puppy in the world that means I’ll miss you if we ever give you away!”
That was the biggest lie I ever told.
Last Friday Alex took Asher over to his girl friend’s house. About 9:45 Alex called and said Asher had fallen down while they were walking, and his tooth went through his lip. He was bleeding and they took him to the breeder's house. She said that mouth wounds bleed and Asher would probably be OK.
About 15 minutes later Alex called back and said they were taking Asher to the emergency vet clinic and to meet him there. You know, the same place we were two weeks earlier.
When I got there I was beyond shocked when I saw the amount of blood covering the kids and their clothes. They looked liked they had been stabbed. Alex was wearing borrowed clothes because his own had become too blood soaked to wear.
What on earth? What now with this dog? I muttered to myself as I signed the paperwork guaranteeing I would pay the $500, at least, and the DNR papers, etc.
The rest of the night passes in a horrific blur. The vet came out to tell us that Asher had lost a tremendous amount of blood and was in shock. His tooth had punctured the only artery in his tongue and it wasn’t clotting. She asked if the puppy could have eaten rat poison.
We just moved into the house and I didn’t put any anywhere. Then we recalled on Tuesday we came home and found Asher under the deck. We thought it was funny he squeezed under there to hang out when his comfy crate was on the top of the deck. If that’s where he got into it, it had to be under there.
The vet called us into the consultation room and gave us the news. It was one of the suckiest moments of my life and probably Alex’s too as she said that Asher required a transfusion, was in critical condition and was basically bleeding to death.
She rattled off a bunch of numbers about his blood levels being half of what they were supposed to be, his temperature was dropping, blah, blah, blah. Then she asked what we wanted to do. “Do? How much is our decision going to cost?” About $1,800 just for the critical care and the first transfusion. Then of course we don’t know, maybe another transfusion, hundreds of dollars more, don’t know what his outcome will ultimately be.
I wanted to throw-up, I wanted to melt in the floor, I was sure I was going to hell at this moment as I turned to Alex and told him, “I can not pay for this, Alex. I’m still recouping from the last visit. What do you want to do?”
How could I ask a 15-year-old to make that decision when I can’t even make it myself?
After much agonizing deliberation, we sobbed as we told the vet to put Asher down. Then the vet starts babbling about how we could put his body in the landfill, and more blah, blah, blah. “For god’s sake,” I thought. “How do you drive home with your dead puppy’s body?” Then the vet said. “Or you could pay for his care up to this point which is just over $600 and sign him over for adoption.”
Why the hell didn’t she say that in the first freaking place? We went in to see Asher and to say good-bye. That sweet puppy raised his head and looked at us with those beautiful brown eyes as if to say he understood. I paid the bill and we left knowing we wouldn’t have Asher but hopefully somebody would.
It sucked. It sucked. It sucked. It sucked.
Alex was silent on the way home. I began to tell him how sorry I was. “Just don’t say anything mom. I know it’s not your fault but I don’t want you to say anything.”
I sobbed all night. He wasn’t my dog you know, and I wasn’t going to miss him. I was sorry for Alex. Yeah.
Alex got up early the next morning. “Mom, can we get him back?”
“I don’t know honey but we can try.” I called the clinic. Well, once you sign a puppy over you can get him back if nobody else has adopted him yet, and you pay for his care which by now was multiple thousands.
Did I mention how much this sucked?
The vet called early Saturday to say that Asher had his transfusion and was resting comfortably. He was still critical, but still alive. Saturday afternoon the clinic called to get some info about Asher for his adoption and said he was due for another blood test in a while which ultimately showed he was still bleeding internally.
I didn’t have the guts to call for an update on Sunday so I asked Rick to call. The clinic told him that Saturday night, after a second transfusion, he still wasn’t doing well and they had decided to put him down after all. But one of the employees at the clinic said she would foot the bill for a third transfusion if they would let her adopt him. Which I guess they did, and she did.
What? How do you reconcile this? She gets to pay for just the transfusion and gets to keep my dog? I mean Alex’s dog? How come I don’t get that choice? I’m out over $2,000 in the three weeks we had this dog and Alex has no dog at the end of it?
How come she gets to see Asher grow up and run trails with her? Or catch lacrosse balls? In God’s grand scheme of things does she need this dog more than Alex does? How come Alex waits ten years to get a puppy and only has him three weeks? Or should we just be grateful that Asher is still alive as far as we know? (I don’t have many good things to say about the alleged “caring and compassionate” treatment of people from this clinic, I must say, and I can give you those details if you want off-line.)
It sucks. It sucks It sucks.
I miss Alex’s dog. I can’t go out in the back yard because he’s not there. I refuse to vacuum or mop the floor because he was just there on it looking up at me with those brown eyes. I read the whole paper this morning without having to deal with the puppy and it sucked. Every time I open the pantry or the fridge (“It’s the land of food, Asher”, Alex would tell him) there is no puppy to scoot out of the way. The crate is still in Alex’s room and I can’t bring myself to look at it let alone do something with it. Alex has it covered with a blanket. I wish I had taken more pictures. I hope I can stop crying soon.
As of now (Monday), Alex doesn’t know the rest of the story. He was at work all day Sunday and then went out with some friends. Rick is picking him up after school to tell him. I’m not supposed to be there because I’ll add too much emotion. Me? It’s not my dog.
There’s a song that says only love can break your heart.
They forgot to say it was puppy love.
By Robin Dearing
Monday, October 8, 2007
I wasn't feeling well over the weekend. Saturday I spent the majority of the day on the sofa simultaneously watching a marathon of Americas' Next Top Model
and MTV's I Love New York
I'm embarrassed to admit that because neither of these shows have any redeeming qualities whatsoever.
I love all kinds of reality TV. But these shows are the dregs.
That model show with Tyra Banks
is just silly. And that Tyra chick takes herself just too damn serious.
"Five models stand before me today. But I only have the pictures of four of you. Once I've revealed who's getting the boot, you must cry, hug girls that you just said you hated, then return to the pimp-assed pad you've been living in to gather your skinny-assed jeans ... and go home."
But that didn't stop me from watching the entire season all. day. long.
Of course, to cut the sweetness of that model show, I had to flip over to I Love New York, which, I guess, is a dating show. But dang, that's one crazy show.
I mean, when did stripper dresses become the epitome of formal wear?
Once I found out that the guy that she ultimately picked, dumped her on the reunion show. I just had to watch the whole thing.
I guess since I woke up nauseated and tired and just out of sorts, I decided to make sure I stayed that way by watching two hideous (but oh-so entertaining) shows.
Around three, I started to worry that I was wasting a precious weekend day. Then I realized that we're always trying to get the most out of our weekends. I often go back to work Mondays more tired than I was Friday, so I let myself have the day and gave into my sickness.
Luckily the only medicine I needed was a hefty dose of raunchy reality TV.
Of course the whole weekend was not a loss in that Saturday night we watched the Rockies sweep their series! Woot to the Rockies!
And Saturday night, we had a great evening celebrating our dear friend's birthday with some delicious food.
Here's a picture of Mar from Friday night:
By Robin Dearing
Friday, October 5, 2007
From Margaret on our way into swim lessons on Tuesday:
"I'm glad we're early because I get to spend some time with you.
You're the best woman in the world because you're my mom.
Some people may think you're weird or stupid or something but you're not because then you wouldn't be my mom."
Who can argue with that logic?
By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Yesterday I found a fun widget on MyHeritage.com
called the Look-alike Meter.
I uploaded a picture of Bill, Margaret and myself and it ranked Mar's looks compared to her parents.
Today it says that Margaret looks 4 percent more like me than Bill.
Yesterday, I thought that this was definitive proof of what I always suspected, that Mar is a mix of both Bill and I. But when I ran this Look-alike Meter yesterday it said that Margaret was an even mix between Bill and I. Click here to see yesterday's results using the exact same pictures (plus you can see what celebrities it says I look like).
OK, so it's not scientific, but it sure is fun. Click over to MyHeritage.com
and try it yourself.
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Because you can never see too many baby pictures, heeeerrrrre's Jonas:
Monday, October 1, 2007
Alex came home the other day with an envelope full of new ways to spend money.
Guess what? It's time to order your high school class ring! Hurry - don't miss the opportunity to fork over up to $450 for a memento of your best years (?) which you will probably lose two days after you graduate and not give a rat's behind about a week after you graduate but the school gets a kick back so order now or you will join the big bunch of unpopular loser kids who can't afford it and are destined to be losers and failures the rest of their lives!
OK, that wasn't the verbatim marketing message on the envelope, but that's pretty much the truth of the message. I mean really. Ordering a very expensive ring as a sophomore is just a bad idea. And it's just one more way for the school to reach into my pocket. I'm all for properly funding schools - but do it through taxes and not the incessant extra-curricular fund raising nonsense.
I don't want any more wrapping paper, cookie dough, magazines or candles. If the schools really need money then call up our elected representatives and have them do the work to get it and quit asking the students to go begging!
It sends the wrong message and the schools who need the money the most have very little chance of getting it like this. And I'm tired of being blamed for being the cheap skate bad guy for telling my kid no, I'm not paying for a class ring and I don't think it's a good idea for you to either.
But if that's what Alex ultimately decides to do with his own money, that's his decision. I just hope he'll still have it in 2010.
By Robin Dearing
Friday, September 28, 2007
Pretty much every school-day morning, I ask Margaret, "What do you want to wear today?"
Her answers go something like this:
"Something with long legs."
"I don't care. You pick."
I'm not exaggerating. She just doesn't care — so long as it's comfortable.
She doesn't like clothes that are tight, stiff or in anyway uncomfortable to her. Other than that, she doesn't care. So I pick out her clothes.
She'll pick out things she wants at the store, but once it's home, she doesn't care anymore.
So I was surprised this week when I asked her what she wanted to wear for school pictures and she said, "My froggie shirt."
I wanted her to wear a nice magenta shirt that had a slight puff to the sleeve and buttons. She wanted to wear a long-sleeved t-shirt with cherries and a frog on it.
Wanna guess what she wore to picture day yesterday?
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, September 27, 2007
We hope you are having a great day and are getting some valuable Richie time on your birthday. Take a break from potty training and eat some bon bons!
From your Haute Mama cohorts,
Lynn and Robin
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Ahhhh, finally it was Saturday and time for the long awaited Community Hospital gala!
Dress-up, open bar, good times for a good cause!
Alex’s dad Rick was in town to baby sit Asher and play catch with Alex, or something like that. As Dan and I walked out the door to the gala my cell phone rings.
“Mom, who’s our emergency vet?” Alex asked.
“Emergency vet? We don’t even have a regular vet until Wednesday. Why?” I asked, not really wanting to know at all.
“Here, talk to Dad.”
“Asher was walking across the deck and swear to god just started choking on something. I was watching him and didn’t see him eat anything.” Rick was clearly distraught as he explained what was happening and I assured him it was not his fault.
Long story short, they take Asher to the Vet Emergency Center (they actually have those?) and Rick calls saying, “I need to know what you want to do. They need a deposit on a credit card for $350, authorized up to $500 and unless you want a DNR it‘s another $200.”
WHAT THE HELL?? All I want is a drink and to be off puppy duty for the night! But really, when he looks like this, what are you gonna say?
Couple hours later the call comes in saying Asher is resting comfortably overnight at the clinic, his lungs has filled with fluid in the process of choking, his X-rays looked OK (X-rays? for a dog?!) he was in an oxygen tent (oxygen tent?!), and they would go pick him up the next morning unless they heard otherwise from the vet.
The next morning Asher comes home with a prescription for steroids and antibiotics and a bill for - get this - $838.76!
Did you hear me? $838.76!! That makes it a $400 a week dog! Talk about choking!
Asher was pretty doped out all day Sunday and it was a relief to have him like this most of the day as he required very little attention.
Like I said, they’re so good
when they don’t feel well. But damn . . . don’t know what I’ll say next time.