The ultimate CT

Does anyone else remember that abbreviation meaning something else back in the day? I’m not talking about the state of Connecticut either. These days, however, CT is the short form of Computerized tomography aka a Cat Scan or the test I had yesterday afternoon.

If you’re (fortunately) not familiar with CT scans, allow me to share the experience. Following blood work to ascertain the functioning of one’s kidneys, the patient is positioned, injected with saline followed by dye, and then moved into the machine for a few minutes. When the technician has everything they need, one is released to await results from their physician.

The images are essentially immediately viewable and, if you’re lucky, you hear from your doctor quickly. For me, this is the hardest part of the test and the longer I wait, the more convinced I become that there is something seriously wrong. Something so terrible the doctor doesn’t even have words for the sheer awfulness of the results. Yep, that’s what happens, at least in my mind.

After 10 days of worry, 4 visits to medical facilities, and an inconclusive biopsy, I was a bit on the edge. When my surgeon finally called this afternoon to give me the (good!) news, I was so stunned that I didn’t know what to say…

She doesn’t feel the need to operate to remove this latest lump. She’s of the opinion that the lump is a “fried” salivary gland which shows no sign of malignancy. I’m to be closely monitored and the prognosis could change, but, for now, no surgery. I know there will be some disappointed folks out there – namely the friends who have sincerely offered to cook, drive and sponge bathe me, but I’m sure we can work something out.

Never has a good CT been so appreciated.

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Not doing it myself

Inspired by this sunflower.

Inspired by this sunflower.

Since I’ve shared the part of my weekend when I did do things myself, I believe it is only fair to also share the days since then when I’ve been very much accompanied. Monday I went to see my ENT. I wasn’t alone. My doctor pretty much did what I expected – an in office fine needle biopsy, orders for some blood work and a CAT scan and the promise of a call to schedule surgery. Whatever it is, it’s coming out.

Because I had been so open prior to the appointment, I felt compelled to report back to my friends, both “real” and virtual, to share the news from my office visit. The warm wishes, promises of prayers, and offers for assistance have left a greater mark on me than that bruise, or any of the already existing scars, on my neck. Thank you, friends.

Two days post-appointment, blood work done, anticipated CAT scan tomorrow and surgery three weeks away, I am bolstered and protected by the people I love, people who have demonstrated that they return the feeling. Although I’ve been down this path before, in terms of medical intervention, this sense that my being taken care of is a concern to many, is new. And cherished.

So, pathology should be back in a matter of days and in just a few weeks this latest (and literal) bump in the road will be gone. Thanks for traveling this path with me, and to someone who has allowed me to ride shotgun for a change, thank you for taking the wheel. I so appreciate it.

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Filed under cancer, Flowers, friends, love, medical

Minnewaska trail run – 10/12/14

imageLast Sunday I did what I’ve done on countless other Columbus Day weekends – I drove down to New Paltz to get out on the trails in Minnewaska. In years past, it was more a walk around the woods with the girls, but in recent years it’s been all about running trails. Let me go on record, right here, right now, and say that this will be my first half marathon, 2015.

James and I hit the trails about 2pm under bright blue skies, parking in the Awosting lot. We ambled along hitting Cardiac Hill, gaining more than 1000+ feet of elevation,* and racking up more than 12 miles. Along the way we were treated to views which rivaled the breathtaking quality of the steepest ascents. It was a spectacular afternoon and I wish I could do this run with more frequency.image

James is great running partner and I thoroughly enjoy the comfort we have with one another after more than 35 years of friendship. I can’t say either of us would have predicted the joy we would each take from running in the woods. It sure is different when you’re not running from the cops! Lakers, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Can’t wait to do it again.

image*which is a lot according to my friend, James, and the way my ass felt the next day.

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Filed under beauty, Exercise, favorites, friends, road trips, running, sunday, upstate New York

Doing it myself

It was a busy weekend, filled with soccer, long walks, friends, sunshine and household tasks. Jeter got back in the game with some dog park playtime and an attention grabbing amble through the neighborhood. I did a little cooking, some cleaning and even a more personal maintenance task – for the first time in many years I colored my own hair.

I’ve got to say, I’m pretty pleased. Don’t get me wrong, I know that my stylist does a wonderful job with my hair, but her schedule is really limited and there was something really appealing about being able to color my hair at home at my own convenience. Factor in the price ($15 vs. $110) and it seemed like a good idea. After reading some positive things about an online company called ESalon, I decided to give them a shot at mixing up a personalized batch of color for me.

My color, “dark brown copper golden,” was arrived at following a series of questions about my natural color (who can remember that?), current color and a few other details. I also uploaded a recent selfie for my color consultant to use. The site encouraged setting up a regularly scheduled delivery of hair color, but I declined that service for now.

Personalized instructions!

Personalized instructions!

From order to delivery was approximately one week and I was quite pleased with the package I received. My little box contained the color and developer, two pairs of gloves, an application brush, individual packets of color and conditioner and products to prevent staining along the hairline.

Pre-ESalon

Pre-ESalon

Saturday afternoon I gathered some old towels and got busy. 25 minutes later I got my results… My ultra blonde summer hair was now a richer shade of strawberry blonde, warmer and more even than my previous color. Now, it’s a semipermanent formula so I don’t know how long it will last or if my hair is going to fall out in clumps, but, today I’m happy with it. I think my satisfaction is due in part to the fact that I wasn’t attempting a dramatic change, more of a slight deepening of current shade. While I have no intention of permanently breaking up with my professional colorist, the price, convenience and results make ESalon an option that I will consider again in the future.

Post-ESalon

Post-ESalon

 

 

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A fall morning, Normanskill style

This place is so special.  Feast your eyes on this morning’s beauty…

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Filed under Albany, beauty, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, favorites, Local, Normanskill, upstate New York

Good news/bad news and a bit of a Grimm tale

The good news? I weighed less than I thought I would when I stepped on the scale. The bad news? I need to see my ENT surgeon post-haste. For the record, I like it better when the good news follows the bad.

I went to see my endocrinologist yesterday. I wasn’t scheduled to see her until January, but there was something about the thing I felt in my neck that made me uncomfortable. I made someone a promise that I would call first thing in the morning and I did. The receptionist was great and took my history after a single run through. A couple of hours later, my doctor phoned and asked if I could be there by 4.

Following our usual chit-chat, my doctor got down to business, dimming the lights and lubing up the ultrasound wand. With her usual thoroughness, she repeatedly scanned the area of my neck where the protuberance was. After a few minutes she asked if she could bring a colleague in for a second opinion. I stared at the ceiling, attempting to escape the room mentally by trying to see what the wattage was on the bulb, but as the second physician took his turn with the magic wand tears slipped from my eyes. The doctors conferred.

Their opinion? It’s either a “bad” lymph node or a chronically inflamed minor salivary gland. (See how I put the bad news first?) The plan now is to see my ENT on Monday and have her determine the appropriate course of action. I’m sure there will be some sort of diagnostics or study conducted. The hope, of course is that it is nothing serious, but my history leaves me feeling vulnerable.

To be clear, I don’t write about my health to garner sympathy or concern. It’s more an exercise in becoming accustomed to the possibility of yet another surgical procedure. It also feels a bit like an exorcism.  If  I express my fears and release them from my inner psyche they kind of lose their power.  Sort of like in that fairy tale when the miller’s daughter shocked Rumpelstiltskin by knowing his name, causing him to run away never to be seen again.  I’ve seen you before and I know your name, Cancer.  How about you stay away and let me have a shot at happily ever after?

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Filed under cancer, medical, musings, stress

Hot compressing my dog’s scrotum, an unexpected delight of pet ownership

Not quite the view with which I have become familiar.

Not quite the view with which I have become familiar.

How’s that for a title, my friends?  It has a certain dramatic flair, yes?  Before you start to worry that you, by not offering your pet this service, are being a neglectful pet keeper, let me tell you how we arrived at this point.

Nearly two weeks ago (Thursday, 9/25, the same day the real Jeter played the field for his final time) my Jeter was neutered.  The procedure went well and he returned home the same day of the event, a bit sleepy but in his usual good humor.  His recovery has gone well, other than some not so appealing drainage from the incision area.  Naturally, this became apparent to me when Jeter cozied up on my bed, my bed with the white comforter.  Two loads of laundry later…

Jeter seems to have found the area between his rear legs even more compelling than usual judging from the number of times I’ve had to correct his somewhat vulgar behavior.  The result of his excessive oral attentions?  A “hot spot” of sorts has appeared on what remains of his testicles, demanding a round of antibiotics and the aforementioned hot compresses.  Both three times a day, thank you very much.

His stitches have been removed and the wound, from the intimate view I have been afforded, is looking better.  His demeanor, fortunately, has been as lively as ever and I am reasonably confident that he hasn’t suffered any real discomfort.  That being said, I am probably even more eager than he is for a complete and quick return to his previous clean bill of health.  It’s not that our time together during his convalescence hasn’t been special, but I’m sure we’re both looking forward to his resuming his dog park activities.  It’s time for Jeter to get his foreplay time somewhere else.

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