Saturday, July 21, 2007


My hands just hurt. the back of my hands through my fingers. I have started to learn knitting. but my hands hurt. Is this a muscle thing like swimming, running or skiing? I need to build hand strength? Or, is this just that I knit the way I grit my teeth in my sleep. I grit knit. I think that's it.


(Needle holding cast on sts is 1st needle.) Hold loose yarn in back of work. Sl second needle through first st on 1st needle from front to back. Loop free yarn up to the back and around to the front of second needle slipping it down through crack where needles meet. Slide point of second needle along rounded body of first needle catching yarn and bringing it through original st. Sl old st off 1st needle. Rep to end of row.

Does this make sense to anyone? This is why I grit knit. Soon, I am told I will relax. It will relax me. In fact, I haven't had my usual crazy night frights or nightmares in at least a week. That's good.

I don't think I can get out of this knitting thing anyway since Max is very excited about his red scarf-to be. the one that already has more lumps and bumps and holes in the first two inches.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

We're going camping. Well, sort of. We will be in a cabin but still need sleeping bags and will cook on a grill. There are showers but not in our cabin. Semi camping. A good start for the likes of us. If it all works out, we will buy a new tent (ask Kim about the last one, good story, bad weather) and try our hand at REAL camping.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to our getaway. We have scheduled 3 nights and 4 days away. We will not bring a computer (the site has WiFi tho') and perhaps we will leave phones at home? Naah.

Check out the Santa Cruz KOA site. Its awesome for lil' kids and desperate parents. There's even a choo choo train that circles the camp...and miniature golf, my favorite.

I can't wait!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Swim a Mile

Not that the radiologist was surprised. In fact she was clear before hand that I didn't need a biopsy at all. So she humored me and left two scars and two little markers inside me for next time when they look. Just calcifications, wacky crap left over from nursing. Apparently my breasts are dense and that has something to do with something.

I feel like I am having a post-biopsy hangover. So to address the hangover, I have been thinking about signing up for Swim a Mile. At least it will be a way to take action, be proactive and fight cancer. Not my cancer, I don't have cancer. but every one else seems to. I read this statistic that says that 1 of every two women will have some sort of cancer in their lives. Can that be true?

I find it depressing and unfair. Anyway, as many of my friends and family know, I really am not a very good swimmer and in fact, I have a fear of drowning. What I like about this swim event is that you can swim one lap or swim a full mile, you can use water wings, a kick board or not swim at all.

Similar to the AIDS ride and the Danskin triathlon, I will be doing something that is completely frightening and seemingly impossible, at the same time, I will be raising money for something I care about and getting in shape.

If someone can withstand chemo and radiation and surgery and all the garbage that goes with it, I can get a bit of water up my nose.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Frozen peas

What your doctor may not tell you is that frozen peas work better than ice. Before the biopsy, buy a big bag of frozen peas. Divide the peas into individual plastic sandwich bags and throw them back in the freezer. You'll find that a bag of frozen peas more easily takes on the shape of your biopsied body part than any bag of ice. Usually the icing routine is 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off, but check with your doctor about that. You can refreeze your bags of peas over and over.– Knowing What Tests to Expect for Cancer Treatment (For Dummies)

What a relief. the anticipation was way worse than the actual experience. The most uncomfortable thing was the table. Laying on my stomach, having my breast hanging through a giant hole in the middle of the table that hit at an awkward location in my rib cage. No moving allowed. There were a series of pictures taken, a breast clamp, a local anesthesia administered and then a big-ass needle inserted to pull the sample tissue out from four locations. They finished both sides within an hour. The entire ordeal took about 2 hours which included the gown, the explanation, the waivers, the photos to make sure they got what they needed.

Here's what I know. they were nice and explained everything up front as well as during. One nurse had a hand on my back, another on my legs, very soothing. they kept letting me know how it was going. It was way easier than the dentist and certainly easier than childbirth.

Before anything began, the Radiologist sat me down and told me that she could see no reason for a biopsy at all. She looked at the photos and based on the formations, she said maybe there was a 1% chance of cancer and, if there was any cancer found, she would be shocked as would each of her colleagues. She agreed to give the biopsy so that I could sleep at night, and be sure.

So, did I over react?
Should I have gotten two breast scars for nothing? Results should arrive by Friday, so we shall see.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Exceptional value!

"Exceptional value on biopsy needles!"

Look at what pops up in the ad area of my site. Its all based on the content of what I write. So tonight there was an ad for cream puff shells next to good deals on biopsy needles. Wow. Creepy. It kind of puts a damper on cream puffs. For me anyway.

Skin care update


A while back I experimented with a new skin care regime, and here are the recent results. I am still 43 but, I do believe, with a less severe set of worry lines in my forehead. You may laugh and say, ah, different lighting, and perhaps you would be right. But listen, this has been a shitty week (only Monday!) and I need something to feel good about.

My latest anxiety that keeps me up at night is worrying that Aiden will pull a chair out onto the balcony to look over the edge...and fall down three flights. I know, I know, lock the access out to the balcony, take a chill pill, etc. I have a million kid horrors that keep me up at night and I wonder when they will subside. Perhaps when I go for a biopsy, I might worry about small incisions in my boobies instead. That sure will be a distraction from my normal anxieties.

Do I sound a bit troubled tonight? I'm really OK. I am tired. I stayed up late last night reading Elizabeth Berg's Dream When You're Feeling Blue. I couldn't put it down. And the night before I was up with Nineteen Minutes, a novel based on a high school massacre. Impossible to put down. Reading is a great escape and a relaxer, almost despite the content. Clearly reading about love and redemption is way better for calming down than massacres and violence but any escape seems good.

Its been a worrisome period of time. I must begin yoga. I must eat right. I must get into the sun. I must reconnect with nature. I must reconnect with my family. Life is short. Its time to remember again what is most important. To slow down and smell the roses...

Friday, July 6, 2007


Max was upset. He wanted cheese puffs and I said no. What is the obsession with cheese puffs? I needed to do a bit of research.

Cheese puffs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cheese puffs are a puffed corn snack, coated with a mixture of cheese or cheese-flavored powders. Cheese puffs is a generic name; Cheetos and Wotsits are the most common brand name. "Cheese puffs" often refers specifically to the baked, puffed variety. One variant is "cheese balls", such as those made by Frito-Lay under the Cheetos brand, or those made in New Zealand by Griffin's Foods. In Canada, cheese puffs are commonly known as "cheesies".

Cheese puff is also a name for gougères, a choux pastry with cheese.

It gets better.
South park renames the snack in two episodes. And if you want reviews of cheeto-type recipes go to for 178 reviews.
Too much time on your hands, and orange stuff.

OK. So if I were for a moment to take this cheese puff/cheetos thing at all seriously, like, people really like them, then, I would or should consider a real recipe.

What better person or chef to research than Kimmy's favorite, the Barefoot Contessa and her puffy recipe:
1 cup milk
1/4-pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup grated Gruyere, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a saucepan, heat the milk, butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg over medium heat, until scalded. Add the flour all at once and beat it vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan. Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Immediately add the eggs, Gruyere, and Parmesan and pulse until the eggs are incorporated and the dough is smooth and thick.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe in mounds 1 1/4 inches wide and 3/4-inch high onto the baking sheets. With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff. (You can also use 2 spoons to scoop out the mixture and shape the puffs with damp fingers.) Brush the top of each puff lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with a pinch of Gruyere. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown outside but still soft inside.

OK. Rant over. I'm really thirsty.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

More than you wanted to know


A Stereotopic Biopsy is a newer method of doing a breast biopsy. A standard biopsy involves going to the hospital operating room where an incision in the breast is used to remove a portion of the abnormal tissue. The newer method of biopsy is performed in the mammogram suite, rather than the operating room. A mammogram is used to locate the area of the abnormality and the biopsy is performed while the breast is compressed in the mammography unit. The procedure only involves a local anesthesia instead of the intravenous sedation or general anesthesia required for the more traditional open incision approach.

The procedure involves the one-time insertion of a probe directly into the area of the breast that appeared suspicious based on a physical exam or a mammogram finding. The doctor guides the probe through the use of ultrasound or stereotactic imaging systems. Once inside, the device gently vacuums, cuts and removes tissue for examination.

Gross. Its better not to read about it. The good news is that several family members went through this recently and their results were benign. That's the good news. In bad news, I hate needles and "procedures" probably more than glass bottom boats or winding roads as a passenger. I can handle giving birth, just don't give me an IV. I hate needles and pokey things.

I think its time to follow Kim's lead and take up Art. did I mention I nearly passed out at her physical therapy session for her thumb? I'm a weanie.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Holiday Cheer

There are scattered punctate diffuse microcalcifications in the right central breast, many of which were present on the previous exam. There are also lesser but similar scattered punctate calcifications on the left. There is no specific group or pleomorphism. No associated mass is present.

Impression: Probably benign diffuse microcalcifications.

They wonder why I might be confused. Next step, a biopsy in the next few weeks just to be sure. Dr. Shim at the Breast Clinic was cool. Her picture on the website is from some hike or something 'cause it looks like she's sporting a backpack. That's got to be a good sign. She said there is a very low probability of finding anything but agreed we should just check it out to be sure and not worry. She also wrote a prescription for Valium. Rock on. Just kidding. Sort of.

I know I am probably making too much of this and perhaps its an attraction to drama and stress but it seems like its better to be over zealous in the safety department. Right?

The idea of a biopsy is kind of daunting. I hate pokey things and I assume a biopsy includes sharp pokey, needle like tools. Ack. Valium.

I just made the mistake of reading a breast biopsy forum with loads of comments of experiences good and bad. The bad ones are horrific. Its worse than pokey things, there is a loud machine involved and cutting and samples and ...bleh. Must get sleep and let it go. Tomorrow is a holiday.

Happy Fourth of July!