Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Looking for Hay in a Needle Stack

           Here’s how my kids react to medical procedures.  First, the back story: Last week I had another breast biopsy and blood work, then because I am a glutton for punishment I had my MOHS skin cancer surgery on my nose the following morning.
          I asked if I could bring St. Bob in for the biopsy but they said no. I explained that he’s my emotional comfort animal. They still said no. (I may have to get him a vest.) Finally they bandaged me up, put me on ice, and sent me home. (No photo of the breast, thank you.)
 Then the next morning I arrived at another office at 7:45 for more blood work and to have my nose deadened with approximately two thousand needles before having a portion of it removed. Between this and the breast biopsy I feel like an organ donor who isn’t even dead, yet. This isn't me, but you get the idea:
In the middle of it all, I texted my boys to give them an update (our daughter was there already). Here is the exact thread of the text:
Cassidy: That’s great to hear, good luck with the procedure today!
Richie: 10/10 update.  Would read again.
Me: Your text looks like it’s the 10th part of something.  Can you resend?
Richie: Nope, I was just rating it a 10 out of 10.
Cassidy: I’m screenshotting this.
Me: Ha ha!  I’m sitting here with a bandaged nose and I needed that laugh. (Then later, after surgery) Well, this morning they only had to do one scraping, so that’s good. But I have an incision from the bridge of my nose to its base. I have to wear a pressure bandage so I look like an elephant but hopefully I’ll be doing better soon. She told me no yoga, no strenuous exercise, no brisk walks. I told her she was describing my current lifestyle, so no problem.
Brandon: Ha, you were made to recover from nose surgery!
Richie: I can’t help but wonder what exactly the doc is worried will happen if you suddenly take up yoga.
Brandon: It could explode.
Me: That is exactly my fear and why I have never done it before.
Brandon: Yoga nose.  That’s what happened to Michael Jackson.
Me: I knew it! Sometimes the answer is right under your, uh, nose.
Brandon: The first recorded example was the Sphynx.
Me: And see? He’s sitting there doing that doggie pose. Or cat pose.
So there you have it, folks.  Brilliant medical analysis, and all at the click of a button.  (You can also buy my books with the click of a button right here.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hot Mess Express

          Folks, you cannot make this stuff up.  About a week ago I fly to another city to join with some girlfriends to celebrate two of their birthdays. Except one of them is sick and can’t come.  And this is the one who’s supposed to drive me back to the airport, an hour and a half away, at the end of the trip.
          The others quickly book me a private shuttle, but then that service cancels due to a computer crash.  First world problems, I know.  BUT… this means I must now book a train ride, getting as close to the airport as possible.
          And usually train rides are great fun.  However, in Joniopolis things can happen.  Boarding the train is no problem.  But when it pulls into my stop, I jump off with my luggage, and notice the place doesn’t look quite right.  So I ask a couple walking by if this is, indeed, the stop I need. 
          “No, no!” they shout.  “It’s the next stop!”  Then they GRAB MY LUGGAGE AND THROW IT BACK ONTO THE TRAIN!  Have you ever done this in your life?  Naturally I jump back onto the train to stay with my bag, and then the doors shut and the train begins moving.  (Not all Samaritans are good, I have decided.)
          There’s no conductor, no train personnel anywhere, to ask.  I’m stuck waiting for the next stop, which turns out to be in one of the worst neighborhoods in the state, with no train station whatsosever. The last stop was the right one, not this one. I have no idea what that couple was thinking.
I cross the street to the “good” side and call for Uber while standing in piles of garbage.  
Then my phone freezes.  I walk down the road past this lovely billboard and the warning sign below it. I just know I will be robbed at any minute, my luggage the giveaway that I am not a local resident.
I find a “convenience market” that looks like it was just ransacked, or perhaps went through an earthquake.
  The man in there, behind several barricades, cannot help me call Uber. On the other hand, next door is a used car lot behind a tall wrought iron fence, where I could probably pick up a car for about $200.00
 I stand outside and try Uber again.  This time I connect. In a few minutes a woman pulls up to the curb.  She is wearing a floppy hat and I do not ask if this is her day job; I do not wish to know.
She drops me at the airport and I go through security, but one of my shoes dings and I have to be x-rayed, my shoes examined.  Were the TSA folks just bored, and wanted something to do?  Incredibly, they are suspicious of my shoe, but not my water bottle, which sailed through inspection.
I head for my gate, but the whole place is a ghost town.  

How can an airport be this empty?  In every direction I look, I am the only passenger in the terminal. And then I get it: I’ll bet everybody else is stuck on a train somewhere.
But if you are stuck on a train, at least bring along something to read. I recommend one of my books.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

I Heart You

          This is my kind of heart attack.  In a recent blog I shared with you that I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  That’s never good news, but it elicited some good things.  For one, trials like this bring you closer to those you love.  My husband’s love and support looks magnified right now. My children are awesome, including the one who said, “Maybe the new breast they give you will have some cool smart features. Maybe they can install Alexa.”
          But it also opened up the hearts of my other loved ones, my dear friends.  Flowers, cookies, gifts from the kitchen—I have felt showered with love.  My artist friend, Debbie Johnson, dreamed a painting to give me—and it’s phenomenal—check it out on my Facebook page.
But today I want to share the surprise my neighbor and her kids gave me.  Just minutes after telling her of my diagnosis, my doorbell rang and here’s the “heart attack” she and her children promptly prepared and then left on my door:
I love that one of the hearts states, “You will get better! (that’s a fact)” written by one of her young sons.  Her daughter drew a picture of me with four wonderful strands of hair sticking straight up like pins.  I adore it!  When the wind suggested I take the hearts off my door, I attached them to a long ribbon that hangs in a cheery swag over my desk now.
I am beyond grateful to so many wonderful friends who reached out with exactly what would mean the most, ministering to my soul and giving me the smiles and hugs I need right now.  Is there someone in your life who needs reminding that you care about them?  Can you cut out a heart from paper?  Maybe you can make someone’s day, and make this world a better place.
          And speaking of moms and kids, check out my YouTube mom videos here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Living the Highland Life

          Have you ever been to a Scottish festival?  We have a huge one here, complete with Highland Games, Piping Band competitions, and kilts everywhere you look.
          There were cute little Scottish kids,

          a Haggis hurling competition (in which my son Richie placed second a few years ago, for throwing one a hundred feet and you can read about that here), Highland dancers (one of whom left his other shoes and socks at the base of a tree):

          Highland cattle:
          And a bagpipe band competition in which our friends, Nancy and Alex Theriault’s sons, Nick and Ben, played flawlessly and wowed the crowd.  You can read more about Nick here. Yes,  he is a virtuoso.
          Just before my surgery, dear friends Lori and Tony McAnelly invited us to come along for this day of fun and excitement.  Yes, they wore tartans.  No, I did not because I don’t have one. 
I did, however, stop at a booth which researches your clan and discovered that St. Bob has a Hilton line that can claim Tweedside, a tartan that looks like this:
          AND it takes no imagination whatsoever to extrapolate that we must surely be related to Tweedle Dee and the other one who is probably the direct relative, yet shall go unnamed.
          After news like that, all Nicole and I could do was console ourselves, not with sheep’s stomach, but with a local delicacy probably straight from the Highlands of Scotland:
          And, since I have no tartan I decided there needs to be a MacWannabe Tartan for all the people who wish they had Scottish ancestry.  I think it would look like this. In 24 karat.  Just saying.
Scottish or not, you will love my books-- see those plus my YouTube channel here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Keeping Abreast

          The nose skin was just the beginning.  Folks, I have just learned that I also have breast cancer.  I wanted to say, “Seriously? Can you have two kinds at the same time?  I mean, isn’t there a law or something, like the rule about lightning?”
          Two radiologists looked at the ultrasound, and even before doing a biopsy they said the chances were nearly a hundred per cent.  As St. Bob and I left the imaging center I said, “Well, with your prostate cancer and my breast cancer we can both qualify for gender reassignment!”  And think of it—we can swap wardrobes!  Talk about being hip and on trend.
          Remember that I wrote a musical comedy about Bob’s cancer? And it included a song about breast cancer?  Eerie how often the things I write come true later.  I should have written about winning the lottery without even buying a ticket.
          Next up was the biopsy where I was told they’d be extracting core samples.  Excuse me?  I have a geologist son who does that to the earth’s crust.  You should see the equipment he uses.  But his doesn’t sound like a nail gun being shot into your chest.  Whatever.
          So after the biopsy, blood work, and a deafening MRI, it turns out I have Invasive Lobular Carcinoma.  Doctors are planning to shrink the tumor and then operate later.  I will say this: Lucky I had a skin cancer doctor I could call for a referral to a breast cancer doctor.  See?  There’s always a silver lining. Although I think having two cancers at one time is taking multi-tasking a bit too far.
          I would have guessed I’d be hysterical at this news, but it turns out I’m very pragmatic—who knew?  I’m calm, at peace, and ready to do whatever’s next. God gives us strength to survive the impossible. And, of course, plenty of blog material.
I also never run out of ideas for novels-- check out a few of my titles here (and they make great gifts!)