Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Under Pressure

So what ever happened with the mammogram you got Eliza?
Yeah, what happened?
What did they say?

Good Question. Wanna hear about it? Here it goes!

My job was offering mammogram night for employees.  I kept debating whether or not to go.  I'm under 40, I haven't felt any lumps.  I don't have any pain. 


I am 37, and I did lose my mother to breast cancer.  While her testing did not prove to have any genetic component to it, she still got cancer.  It came from somewhere.  And after much battling with the lump in my throat, I decided to bite the bullet and get it done.

My hubs  asked if I wanted him there, and I was so thankful.  Even if he wasn't in the room, it was so nice to have him waiting outside when I was done.  So Kris and my girls went with me to be my cheerleaders.

Except my four year old's cheers sounded more like screaming, with a lot of "I don't love you anymore!" and "Stop looking at me!", at the top of her lungs.  It also included both of my girls eating white cheddar popcorn in the waiting room. If you had seen them, you would have thought they were crocodiles, the way they were rolling around and making a mess with it.  We also wanted to be sure of everyone's safety and set off the emergency exit alarm.  It works. And we are well equipped to toss our popcorn in the air and jet out of there, should the need arise.

After causing all kinds of upheaval in the waiting room they finally called my name.

It wasn't too shabby.  They made me change into this white Hugh Heffner looking gown.  And I had to use this little wipe to remove any deodorant or lotion off of my un-Hugh Heffner worthy breast and armpits.  This immediately reminded me what I forgot to do that morning.  And putting on deodorant wasn't it. I figured this is not the first time they've seen armpit hair, and there weren't any razors in the room, so I had to keep on pushing.

They take me into the next room with the mammography unit.  I wish I could accurately describe what it looks like.  I have a vivid imagination, so I may not be the best for giving a true account of the way it truly looks.  But if you can imagine an ATM machine, a frozen yogurt machine, and a kitchen counter all mixed into one.  Yup.  That's it.

Damn.  Now I want some fro-yo.

Anywho.  The lady there is super duper nice, explains everything boob-by-boob, I mean step-by-step and we're rolling! She basically advances you up to the machine, places the girls in different angles (one by one of course) and had me hold my breath at different times and of course the compression.

Now the compression is not what I was expecting.  I thought I was gonna cry.  I thought my eyeballs were going to pop out.  I also thought I might pee and debated wearing Depends. But guess what?!! I had a coupon for the Depends, so score! And the compression wasn't any of what I thought it would be! I cannot even describe it as painful at all.  I don't think I can even use the term uncomfortable, because it wasn't that either. I've even come up with a list of things that I think are worse than a mammogram.

Things That Are Worse Than A Mammogram
  1. Stubbing my big toe is worse than a mammogram.
  2. Getting a Dorito stuck in my throat is worse than a mammogram.
  3. Getting brainfreeze is worse than a mammogram.
  4. A caffeine headache is worse than a mammogram.
  5. Burpees are worse than a mammogram (for my fitness peeps). 
  6. Skinny jeans are worse than a mammogram.
  7. Hitting my funny bone is worse than a mammogram.
  8. Burning my tongue on cocoa is worse than a mammogram.
  9. Houston summers are worse than a mammogram.
  10. My singing is worse than a mammogram. (No don't count that one. I'm a pretty awesome singer)
So it was pretty good.  No problem.  I was so proud of myself.  And then they sent me a letter.

It said there was a nodule and I would have to come back.

What? A nodule?
What the hell does that mean?

So here we go.  The worrying mode in me goes into full throttle.  Although it's more tame than it normally would have been, because the awesome technologist told me to expect this.  Especially on the first mammogram.

Okay.  Expecting, but still scared shitless.

What happens next is to go and get a follow up mammogram on the affected side and do a greater level of compression.  If that one comes out all good, then I'm good to go.  If not, then I have to go and get an ultrasound.

At this point I'm pretty worried.  My mind is automatically preparing myself for the worst.  This could be something and very possible given my family history. But the worst part about all of this, was the person that I wanted to talk to the most about it, she isn't here.

I'm expecting at the end of the second mammogram to get the green light to go on about with my life.

No such luck.  The technologist nicely tells me that they will see me at my next appointment the following week. At this point I pretty much lose it.  I think no matter how hard I have tried to stay positive, I finally cracked.  I don't know what was worse.  Going through all of this and not knowing, or knowing that my feelings are all of the feelings and emotions that my mother went through as well.  And wondering what her mind must have thought when her appointments went from "Everything looks good!" to "We'll see you next time".  

I'm so super blessed that my family was waiting for me.  I can't lie about my emotions.  It's really hard.  My face will either turn red like a tomato or I'll just cry.  This time, when I saw them, I just cried.  And at this point I just really wanted to know one way or another what I needed to do.

Monday rolls around and my ultrasound is here.  I felt so bad for the technologist because the my wait for her to come into the room was a mere five minutes, but an eternity for my mind to go crazy wondering what the answer would be.  I should have just kept my eyes closed and not looked at the screen. Because when I saw the technologist using the measuring tools with the computer on the nodule, a little piece of me melted away.  As a nurse, I know that even if we know what it is on the screen.  We are not allowed to say.  So I was very eager for the doctor to come in. She came in with a smile and immediately said "Good News!".

Thank you Jesus!

My 'nodule' was a small benign cyst.  Not one to be of concern or need any further biopsy or testing.   Game plan is to be sure I do not have any pain, and to continue with annual mammograms.

My mammogram story ends on a happy note for me.  I had good results.  Maybe not the way I expected to get them, but good none the less.  My mammogram revealed something that was so small that I couldn't feel it or see it, but had this been something of concern, this was probably the only way that I would have known that it was there. And this mammogram would have been my first step in getting early treatment.  I'm thankful I bit the bullet.  I'm thankful I got over my fear of the squish and just went for it. 

Working in oncology I see so many scary things on a regular basis.  Things that I hope many of you never have to see or experience in your lifetime.  So do something for me.  Take care of yourself! Eat right. Exercise. Quit smoking! And know your family history, and know what preventative care you should have.  Check your skin! Check your moles! Do self breast exams! Do self testicular exams! Get your colonoscopy! And get your mammograms!!!

I say do these things for me. But really, do these things for you. Do these things because you love yourself.  I love you! You should too!

Happy Squishing!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nailed It!

It has been a super long time since I have written on here. I truly blame social media for all this.  Instead of keeping random moments of my life in my head and writing them down I'm too busy falling asleep with my phone in my hand waiting to pin the perfect recipe that will self clean my kitchen and keep my craft closet organized.  Instagram is another force in the social media world that is also ruling my life. It makes me feel the need to take selfies where I look an absolute terror and take pictures of all my food.  So now when I go back and look at my feed, I'm just hungry and scared all at the same time.

But let's get down to it.  Let's get down to the nitty gritty of what I'm really writing about tonight. The worst nail spa experience I've ever had in my life.

So, I wouldn't classify myself as a girly, girl.  I think mainly because I'm poor and a procrastinator.  And in the world of beauty, that is just a really bad combo.  I am notorious for wanting my hair highlighted.  I get it done and when they say "See you in three weeks", I'm convinced they are speaking in another language because my brain never gets the message.  I've convinced myself that my ability to turn beautiful highlights into roots, brought about the 'ombre' hairstyle.  Because that's really what it is right? Just overgrown roots? That's a style I'll never get.  I'll have to write about that one in another blog titled, "How I know that I'm Old".

So I've given up on the hair scene altogether.  My only hope for myself right now in looking halfway decent are my nails.  I don't get to go too often, so when I do go, it's a real treat.  Recently after being on call all week, I decided I deserved to spoil myself.  So after my shift was over I went to get my nails did.

I always see this salon on the way to work.  It's not an awful area.  It's right below a little high rise and next to a sandwich shop called the "Spicy Pickle".  That and the burglar bars on the front door should have made me walk away.  It was about 5pm on a Sunday so I knew I was probably pushing it.  But the sign said Walk Ins Welcome and the were opened til 7.  Awesome!

I'll never learn.

What came next has been burned into my memory and not in a good way. As I past the entry way my eyes began to squint and I prayed I hadn't left my sunglasses in the car. The wall color was lime green! Neon lime green! I was so distracted by it that they had to tell me three times to sit down.  As I walked in I saw the pedi spa chairs.  Each and every one of them had that little foot bath at the bottom that was a different color for each chair.  Some were pink, some were blue, some were green.  At this point I had to go to the restroom and wipe off my eyeballs because they had fallen out of my sockets from me gawking like a crazy person. It went on and on.  I couldn't even focus.  It was like a nail spa circus.  I think the only bad decor that was missing were those light up paintings of waterfalls that look like they're moving.

It's so hard to describe the decor in this joint.  But if Willy Wonka and Rainbow Brite ever got married, I'm 100% sure that this is where they would like to live. 

After I sat down and picked my colors the rave music started. 

What the hell? 
I'm not sure what kind of ambiance they were going for, but relaxing was definitely not it. It was sooo distracting.  What makes it worse is that I'm not one of those people that can ever fully relax at these places.  One because I'm damn nosey.  I like to see what colors other people have chosen.  I like to see if the nail lady is going to be able to shave that corn down on the chick next to me.  And I also like to hear people talk on their cell phone like they're the only person in the room.  Free entertainment.  Thank you!

Speaking of cell phone talking.  The whole time my little nail lady is calling everyone in her phone and having a full conversation with them while she's doing my nails.
This is weird.
What do I do? Where do I look? Do I smile? Do I ask to say Hi? She's cussing me out isn't she?  Shit. I think if she wasn't making my nails look like I could be the next Palmolive hand model,I would have complained.  Plus I was tired and my werewolf hands were due a mani. So I figured I could just tough it out.  

My nails were done and looked fab! The last part left was the hand arm massage.  My favorite. I can never relax any other time, but for some reason I can always relax during this part.  

I will never learn.

My arm massage began to take a trip south, or should I say north, when she went from massaging my forearm, to my elbow to my bicep, to my...Whoa Lady! Back it on out of my sleeve! I've already had my mammogram this year! She managed to get a little past my arm pit when I literally jumped out of my chair.  Oh my word.  I felt a little violated.  I honestly don't think she meant to.  At least that's what I kept telling myself.  Too bad for her I had forgotten to wear deodorant that morning.  That is definitely gonna linger.

I'm still contemplating if I will return back or not.  I think my retinas have fully recovered from the paint.  But I don't know if I'm ready for another pit massage.  Unless that's the new thing in relaxing massage? Is it?