Friday, July 29, 2016

A Woman in Her Thirties Takes her Lumps

****IMPORTANT NOTE BEFORE READING THIS POST! Everything is fine, I am 100% okay, and nothing to worry about!****


This past Sunday morning, I felt a lump in my breast. This was weird for two reasons:

A) I almost never give myself self-exams, despite the fact that my OB is always harping on me to do so because I have lumpy breasts (more on this later).

B) I wasn't actually looking for a lump-- I was worried about a spot on my skin (because my dermatologist hates me for my 'sun history', as she puts it). The spot was nothing, BTW.

But there it was, definitely a lump.

I am not new to this. In fact, I had a needle biopsy done in my early twenties because of a lump that has since gone away. It was then that I learned of my lumpy breasts, but as all twenty-somethings do, I mostly disregarded the issue and went back to my Bud Light.  

Good(ish) times.

Normally, I wouldn't be worried about finding a lump because of my... well, lumpiness. But this one felt different. Hard, like a pea. And I have to admit I had about an hour of panic on Sunday morning.  

What if?

I know from my complicated pregnancy with Aaron to never-- never-- google medical symptoms or conditions. So I called my OB on Monday morning so she could take a look. 

By a miracle of the patron saint of mammograms (Saint Agnes?), my OB had an opening that afternoon. This is a woman who books A YEAR out for appointments, so it was literally amazing that I was able to get in to see her. I also know my OB veeeery well. Let's just say we both have PTSD caused my my pregnancy and birth with Aaron. 

Man, does this kid ever owe me. 

She was the one who wanted me on hospital bed rest at 28 weeks, the one who wanted a scheduled C-Section, the one who was far more conservative than my perinatologist. 

If anyone was going to take a lump seriously, it was her.

After going through some pictures of the kids and talking about the support system that is SO lacking for new mothers in our society, she took a feel of my boobs. And sure enough, she felt the lump.

Actually, she felt two. 

'I'm not worried,' she said. But if there's one thing I've learned from my pregnancies, when a doctor isn't worried about you they move slowly. Their priority list is constantly shifting and moving, and to be low on your doctor's priority list is a GREAT thing. But she sent me downstairs to imaging right away, and 15 minutes later I was having my first mammogram and (boob) ultrasound.

I sent a couple 'no-big-deal' texts-- one to L, who of course was worried, and one to J, who had my kids and needed to know I might be late. But other than that, I needed to be quiet and zen-like at that point. I focused on the Kim-Kanye-Taylor feud (they all suck, if you ask me) that was highlighted on the cover of people magazine while I waited for everything to be set up. 

I had heard mammograms weren't all that fun, but wow. I was not prepared for the squishing, smashing, and breath-holding that happened in that room. However, the technician was wonderful and the doctor who gave me the ultrasound was fantastic, and within 40 minutes I was told that the lumps were, indeed, just that. 

This week has been crazy. So many activities, so busy, so many things going on. But there is nothing like a lump in your boob to make you stop, take notice, and breathe with gratitude for your health.  



Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Woman in her Thirties' Summer, So Far

Good lord, this summer is flying by. Good LAWD!

Instead of trying to re-cap everything I'm going to dump some pictures here, say some stuff, and call myself caught up on my blog.


This is a picture of my mom and Anna, at my mom's 75th birthday in June. Of course it was wonderful to go home, but I'd like you to take note of my mother's face in this picture. See that glare? That's what I had to put up with all week as we planned this party for her. My mom is... how do I put this... ANTI-party. But shoot, 75 is a big birthday, and quite frankly we all agreed it was very selfish of her not to want to celebrate it in a semi-big way.

We had 8:00 Mass offered for her, then we went out to brunch, where she gave the sweetest impromptu speech in the world that revolved around the life and death of Prince. By the end of the day, she decided not to be mad at me anymore for making her celebrate her birthday.

We also got our first family picture (minus L) in about 25 years. Aaron was super cooperative...


Summer has been awesome. You might remember from last year when I rated all the activities I'd done in terms of how crazy they each made me. Well, I really took that to heart and have been super careful about not over scheduling the kids. Mornings are for camps, afternoons are for play. Fridays are for field trips somewhere fun. We've had our hard days, but for the most part it's been a good balance.  

I taught two sessions of a creative writing workshop at the community center in June and July, and those were great. I kept telling people I kind of felt bad getting paid to do such fun stuff with great kids. But I did notice that my teacher timing-- something I always prided myself on-- was a little rusty, as was my pop-culture knowledge (I had a student explain the whole Pokemon Go thing to me). 

But the best part was that the kids were in camp in the same building as me, and we got to have lunch in my classroom afterwards. They loved writing on the whiteboard and getting to meet some students. The Best.

Work has been so awesome, and that is another post. Let's just say that I didn't realize how much I needed to go back to work until I went back to work.

We drove to the Milwaukee area last weekend to visit some cousins of L's. I am ashamed to admit that was my first time-- ever-- to cross the border into Wisconsin. But the drive was lovely, the cheese was plentiful, and I always feel so energized by a great road trip.


I was super excited about my 'garden' this year, but the truth of the matter is I'm terrible at gardening. However, I'd like to point out that this little green baseball-sized melon below is a cantaloupe that is ACTUALLY growing. So there. 

Despite this lighthearted post, I have to admit that I'm very much caught up in the cesspool of craziness that is happening in our country right now. It's overwhelming and scary to know that my little babies are growing into this reality. A woman in her thirties needs to know where she stands on things and why she stands there, and this summer has also been a time of reflection, arguments, and frustrations that I take very seriously. I don't know what to say other than I look at this picture I took a couple weeks ago and get sad.


And worried. Not just for the ways I can't protect my children from the realities of life, but also for the ways in which I can. 

I think my mother, now 75, would argue that it wasn't always this way. That times have changed so drastically; that she has never seen the world in such chaos. I remember my recent US history don't know if I believe that. What I do know is that I'd like this summer-- Anna and Aaron's understanding of it-- to last forever. 

But since that can't be, I'll continue to break out my phone and capture some small, worthwhile summer-moments, and appreciate them through their eyes.