Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Being Thankful...

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays: very little of the retail hype that accompanies Christmas (which now starts directly after Halloween, apparently), time spent with loved ones, and reflections on what we're thankful for.

What am I thankful for?
  • My family: two incredibly cute kids with very different and wonderful personalities, and a husband who gave up his career to be the stay-at-home-dad.
  • That the above kids have not yet decided to sing the made-up songs about bodily functions (thanks, Dad!) anywhere other than home and in the car.
  • That I can still giggle at goofy songs about bodily functions and sing along with my kids.
  • I'm thankful that my mother's health has been good and the cancer hasn't returned.
  • That my uncle has a defiant, stubborn streak and is currently doing very well with his chemo.
  • That my tumor was benign.
  • I'm thankful for my job and the people I work with... don't let this get out, but I really do like my job (shh!).
  • I'm thankful for my friends: those who've been family to me for many years, and those who've been recent additions to my circle of friends.
  • I'm thankful for the opportunity to recently reconnect to many old friends (mostly via Facebook), perhaps even closer to some than we were "back in the day."
  • I'm thankful for the basics: a roof over my head, three meals to eat (plus snacks, plus coffee... I'm very thankful for coffee...), clothes to wear, and a vehicle to get me around. The extras are all gravy.

So... what are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. May you spend it with loved ones and enjoy every minute.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where were you when...?

Remembering 9/11/01 today...

So... where were you?

I was at work. I forget exactly what I was working on... that's not the important part of the memory, I guess. I was on the phone with a friend's wife when she said, "A plane just hit the World Trade Center." It seemed like a tragic accident at the time. Initially, nobody knew what was going on, and at the time, we (and some of the news outlets) thought that it was a small passenger plane.

Our building isn't known for allowing any type of good radio reception. My manager at the time had a radio in her window office, and was trying to tune in to the news. Reports were totally chaotic. Was it a small, Cessna-sized plane? Was it a passenger jet like some reports were now saying? We pretty much stopped working at that point and tried to get something out of the radio reports. CNN, Fox News, etc. were still speculating on their websites.

They eventually all converged on the news that a passenger jet had hit the WTC and were attempting to figure out why. Then the second plane hit.

I'm sure you all remember the feeling... horrified, unable to do anything except listen. And read. The radio was turned up, and a few of us tried to dig up some web sites that would tell us anything new. CNN, Fox News, ABC News... all the major sites were useless. Slowed to a crawl with everyone trying to access them at once. The only site that would load (mostly) reliably was the Drudge Report (which, to its benefit, is as flash-less as can be). Then the Pentagon was hit. Then another plane was said to have crashed in Pennsylvania... some had speculated that it had been shot down. The full story didn't come out until later.

Not much work went on the rest of that day. Those of us who had friends in NYC tried to make sure they were ok (to my relief, my NYC friends were). We went through our routine after we exhausted the news, but we really didn't get much done. On my way home, a man was outside at the end of his driveway with a home-made sign, saying "Honk if you love our country." I honked. And I cried. He was there every evening for the next week or two doing the same thing.

I got home and hugged Ellen, who was about 9 months old at the time (and thankfully too young to understand what was all over the TV that day).

In the following days, I learned that our company lost one of its own on one of the flights that struck the WTC. I saw him in the hallways, said hi, but never knew him. And never would. I worried that, as a government contractor, we might be a target as well. But most of all, I was determined to do what I could to support our customers and friends in the military, who would most likely be putting their lives on the line in the future as a result of this attack.

The footage on History Channel is hard to watch. But I'm watching. And remembering.

To the victims of 9/11/01, rest in peace. God bless all those who risked their lives at the WTC to try to rescue those they could, those at the Pentagon who did the same, and the heroic passengers of flight 93 who prevented another incident and at the same time showed everyone what heroes really are. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Iran: Sobering, Horrifying, and Heartbreaking

I took some time at lunch today to read through the #iranelection posts on Twitter today. You have to weed out the Twitter Trolls posting Anti-Semitic rants and the huge number of posts from people offering their support, but the news from the "people on the street" is heartbreaking and absolutely horrifying. I can't really add much more than that, so I'll point you to a few links:

The #iranelection "trended topic" on Twitter.

A blog entry focusing on one Twitter user's posts from Tehran.

To realize that what you're reading is real, and is happening NOW is sobering. What is amazing through all this is the connectivity that allows us to see, unfiltered by the Iranian media OR our own, what is happening to real people in real time. One person on Twitter wondered if the Iranian Election is to Twitter what the first Gulf War was to CNN. It's certainly an interesting thought.

Tonight, I'll be thinking of - and praying for - the citizens of Iran who are caught up in all this madness. And thankful to be living here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Self-explanatory blog post

(No idea who to credit for the pic, but there ya go...)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Monkeys go Geocaching!

I always loved the idea of treasure hunting as a kid: solve some puzzles, find some clues, figure out where the big "X" is, and find your treasure! Of course, as a kid, the only treasure you tend to find is the stuff of imagination (or, if real, then you're a darn lucky kid!).

I heard about Geocaching a few years ago and thought it was a great idea: "treasure" hunting using GPS coordinates, a keen eye, and sometimes a series of clues to help you figure out where you need to go. And, best of all... each "treasure chest" is real. Where's the down side? :-)

A couple years back I picked up a Garmin eTrex, meaning to give it a try. Unfortunately, my youngest daughter wasn't old enough to go trekking through the woods yet, my oldest seemed indifferent, and I wasn't all that thrilled with the readability of my GPS, so I pretty much put it off for "the future", although I poked around on from time to time out of curiosity.

It recently occurred to me that I now have an iPhone. With GPS. And many downloadable applications at my fingertips. As well as two kids old enough (and interested enough) to try it. The bug bit again. :-) I downloaded a geocaching app (aptly named "Geocaching") that allows me to find caches local to me (or close to a location of my choice), look up their descriptions online (are they easy to get to? How large are they? Kid-Friendly?), and best of all: Use the GPS capability of the iPhone to navigate to a specific cache, even offering a "compass" mode once I get close enough to need one. How could we not go at this point?

So we went! Friday was our first foray into Geocaching, and the girls (including the BIG girl) got a kick out of it! The first cache we tried to find was a Princess-themed one, but there were a few neighborhood kids building a bike ramp in the area, and I didn't want to poke around while they were there. We tried another one at a local picnic area instead. Armed with GPS/phone in hand, we poked around and after a few minutes of searching (and trying to figure out how accurate "compass mode" really is), we found our treasure: an ammo box hanging from a tree a few feet away from the picnic area (more camouflaged than you'd expect, even hanging from a tree with nothing to cover it). Woo hoo! Contents: a log book and a few trinkets. The girls took one each, and we left two things in turn.

We went out again today and found two more: the original princess one (overflowing with girly, princessy things), and a second "microcache" that was just big enough to hold a log book (no room for a pen - bring your own!). I think I'm hooked... and the girls got a huge kick out of the "treasure hunt" as well. :-)

I've already started to amass a collection of items to leave behind in caches (to replace the things we take), and I'm considering picking up a "travel bug" or two (trackable items that cachers log online and the owners track as they move from cache to cache). There was a travel bug in the princess cache we found today (attached to a really pretty owl figure), but we figured we'd leave it for someone who'd be going caching again soon.

Some pictures from our excursions:

Our first find! Monkey got into the act as well! :-)
(Yes, I'm wearing my glasses... the cold I'd avoided for the Seattle trip finally caught up with me and my eyes were pretty unhappy with contacts. Bleh.)

Today's first find: the "microcache" (in Ellen's hand) that had some log paper rolled up inside: just enough for us to log the date & basically say "we found it!" Oh, and Kelly found a penny too. Look at that excitement! :-)

The Princess cache: the girls checking out the swag and me writing in the log book

The weather was nice enough to spend some quality time outside once we got home as well... aaaahhh... (Nice cup/crazy straw combo on the table, isn't it? ;-)

And look who moved in... we believe he/she is a neighbor's cat, but kitty seems to own the whole neighborhood. Fine with us, as the cat is the perfect non-pet: comes by to say hi, the kids get to pet him/her, and then goes home. For allergic me, that's a win-win situation right there. :-)

The only downside: my battle with the fir trees for yard dominance. I decided that I'd finally prune the bottom branches off the trees today. They bit back in their defense, but I think I got the better of them. At least I have all my limbs, even if they do look like this:

Little buggers. :-P

Ah well, back to work tomorrow. Can't say it wasn't a fun weekend, though. :-) Hope everyone else had a nice weekend and got to enjoy the nice, warm weather now that it's finally here! (And now I'm hoping that I didn't just trigger a snowstorm by saying that... uggh!)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Photos on Flickr

Just FYI, if you're interested in pics from Seattle as I post them
online, they'll be on my Flickr set:

Lunch now... And I'm still full from breakfast. My body clock is way

Good Morning, Seattle!

The view from our hotel:

Well, we arrived in Seattle last night. The flight went pretty well
after being slightly delayed to de-ice the wings, and we headed non-
stop from Boston to Seattle (Alaska Air - great prices!), to arrive in
at almost 10pm, Pacific Time. Yawwwn...

Once we got a cab and made our way to the hotel, we decided we felt a
little peckish and decided to hit the hotel bar for snacks and a drink
or two. And who happens to be there, but Kelly and Trina! Yay for
unexpected meetups! Oddly enough, the bar had GREAT New England-style
clam chowder. Who knew?

Still, after chatting for a while, we were all pretty beat and headed
to bed.

Today: sightseeing and meeting up with other friends as they arrive.
The plan is to hit the Pike Place Market (only about a half-mile from
the hotel) and take it from there. Weather is supposed to be nice this
weekend. Rainy morning, though. Who'd have expected that? ;-)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009



There will be much rejoicing this weekend! :-)
Heading to Seattle for a few days tomorrow... this is the perfect start to a good vacation.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Update, and a bit of a relief

Well, things looked OK this time around with respect to the new spots.
The spots they were concerned about turned out to be tissue that moved
into some old cysts (ew). Apparently, when smashed flat (ow ow ow),
they disappear in the x-ray, which is what happened.

Still planning on a 3/31 biopsy for the original site, though, unless
they can squeeze me in earlier.

Whew. :-)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quick update... (or... the updated update)

Hi folks,
Just a quick update to let you know that mammogram #2 happened today. The marker seems to be in the right spot, at least according to the images, so that's good news. No repeat procedure. Yay! :-)

March 31st is the doctor's appointment, and probably the biopsy. I probably won't send out another update about this until we get the results back from that, but things are moving forward. Shouldn't take too long to get answers now, which makes me happy.

On a related note, some of you know I was considering walking in the 3-Day Breast Cancer walk in Boston this July. The challenge was a great one: 60 miles over three days... I know I'd enjoy the experience. Problem is, the fundraising is very aggressive: $2300 per walker. Yikes! Honestly, I just can't justify asking people to do that in this economy. Plus, there are other cancers that just don't get the publicity (less "glamorous"?), and therefore don't get the money. It didn't seem right... So, I'll probably do the North Conway walk ("Strides Against Breast Cancer") again... that one benefits the American Cancer Society and seems like a better place for me to put my money. I'd rather see my money benefit all cancer research.

Although I still want to get a shirt from these guys. :-)

Update (3/18/09): Well, today started off nicely with a lunch to celebrate a coworker who's probably going to go out on maternity leave soon (as an aside: Angela's Coal-Fired Pizza is incredible!). I got back to work and had a message to call the radiology group I went to on Monday. The radiologist wants me to go back tomorrow for more imaging: the original, marked site did increase in size, and now there are more suspicious areas that he wants to get pictures of before my next doctor's appointment. The radiologist's recommendation: biopsy.

Ugh. Way to pull the rug right out from under me. I'll update the blog after I get more information.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Hynes Tavern 5-mile Race (Wild Rover Race #3!)

The third and final race in the Wild Rover Series was today: The Hynes Tavern 5-Mile Road Race in Lowell, MA.

Parking was a bit disorganized (at least, if you wanted to find the free parking lots), but we got a spot at the elementary school where I picked up my number and proceeded to spend half the morning in the line for the ladies' room (I'd forgotten what Comet cleanser smelled like!). At least we got there early...

The kids joined me, Michelle, John, and Laura for the pre-race picture:

The weather: sunny and gorgeous! It started off somewhat windy and cool (but nowhere near the snow and sleet we had the previous two weeks). I was wondering if I'd have to keep my jacket on for the run or not. And more good news: we were going to have actual chip time (mat at the starting line), rather than going by gun time. Which was nice, since it took me about a minute to actually cross the starting line.

Yeah, that's me waving... John too. :-)

Once we got going, it seemed like the wind instantly stopped and the sun got warm. That jacket came off after maybe 500 feet! I liked the course: out of Lowell into Chelmsford, around a cemetery and through some cute neighborhoods, then back into the city. Another course with a hill at the turnaround point, but this one wasn't as steep as the last one (thankfully). A good sign that it's all downhill from there is when you run past the town water tower. ;-) I had the iPhone going and mapped the route with Runkeeper. (Plug alert... I love this app!)

After a tough run on Friday, I was pretty psyched with my run today... lots of energy (and a nice little boost at the end getting cheered on by a friend and having my family at the finish line), and a better time than expected (a 10:14 mile), given the on-and-off issues my calf has been giving me over the past few weeks. Woo!

One thing I really liked about this race series was that it was the first group of races where we used the disposable timing chips ("D-chip"). No more chip collection at the end of the race (and fighting your way through the crowd of folks bent over trying to loosen these things from their laces), and no threats of being charged $$ for missing chips. The new chips came as a plastic strip attached to the back of your race number: detach the strip, loop it around your laces, and you're done. No problems attaching the chip, and there didn't seem to be any issues with accuracy... pretty nice.

What next? I dunno... I need to keep running, though, and quit slacking off. More snow for tonight and tomorrow (sigh), but no excuses... I need to find another race to sign up for to keep myself honest. :-)

All three "Wild Rover" medals together... the heart and crown were from this week. It's pretty big!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Claddagh Pub 4-Miler (Wild Rover Race #2!)

The second race in the Wild Rover Series was today: The Claddagh Pub 4-Miler (in Lawrence, MA).

Friday and Saturday, we had beautiful weather: Friday got up to almost 60 degrees, Saturday cooled down as a cold front moved through. Today?

Snow. Of course! Yaaaay! Two storms worked their way through the area today. Storm #1 was the one that affected the race today: not too much snow ("a dusting"), but enough to make some of the running slippery. Storm #2 is coming through tonight, and is expected to dump 15" of snow on us. That's what happens, living in New England!

The course was interesting: flat for the first mile, a KILLER hill at the 2-mile turnaround point (someone on the website described the hill as a "knee-in-the-face" hill, which was pretty accurate), with the downhill and flat coming back. Map is here on Runkeeper's site. I walked the hill and had to watch my step on the downhill, for fear of sliding down (if I'd had a sled, I'd have made up some great time!). Despite the hill and the snow, though, I still averaged around an 11-minute mile. Yay!

Round three will be next week with the Hynes Tavern 5-miler in Lowell. I'm hoping it's more like Spring! :-)

First picture is pre-race: (L-R) Michelle, Me, John, Laura, Jen (Joe, thanks again for taking the pictures!)

This is the amount of snow we had at the start... not too much, but it was slippery in spots (John skated over to the starting line):

Of course, there are bling pictures. The medal is the second piece of the 3-piece Wild Rover Series medal, and the second hand in the claddagh. Next week we get the heart and crown at the Hynes Tavern 5-miler.

It's blurry, but here's a picture of the two pieces together:

See you next week at the Hynes Tavern race! :-)
(Update: sorry the pictures didn't come through the first time... hopefully, this edit fixes that.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Saga Continues, Part VI: Frogurt

House of Evil clerk: Take this object, but beware: it carries a terrible curse.
Homer: That’s bad.
Clerk: But it comes with a free frogurt!
Homer: That’s good!
Clerk: The frogurt is also cursed.
Homer: That’s bad.
Clerk: But it comes with your choice of free toppings!
Homer: That’s good!
Clerk: The toppings contain potassium benzoate. [Several seconds of silence...] That’s bad.
Homer: Can I go now?
Sometimes I empathize with Homer...

For anyone who hasn't read the prior posts, or wants the recap, here's the last few doctor's appointments, boiled down for brevity:
Doctor: You have a suspicious spot on your mammogram
Me: That's bad.
Doctor: It looks like it's probably a cyst. Go get an ultrasound.
Me: That's good.
Doctor: Well, it's not a cyst.
Me: That's bad.
Doctor: But it doesn't look like anything threatening
Me: That's good.
Doctor: I can put in a marker and biopsy it, but I may not be able to hit it.
Me: That's bad.
Doctor: Or you can wait 6 months and see if it changes
Me: ...
Me (two days later): That's bad... I'm going ahead with the marker/biopsy

So today was the appointment with Doctor K. I wasn't sure if this was going to be an informational appointment ("This is what we'll do...") or the actual procedure. Turned out, it was the actual procedure. Score one for not having to wait even longer. Dr. K was able to locate the site with no problem via ultrasound, and he went in (with a rather LARGE needle) to put in the marker and perform the biopsy. I felt bad for the assisting nurse, as she seemed to be all thumbs. He kept a very level demeanor, though, and she did fine once they got set up. The procedure itself went smoothly... the worst part was the Novocaine (ow). The funniest part was when the ultrasound machine rolled away because the floor was uneven. :-)

After he finished, and we were wrapping up, he explained the following:
  • His initial reluctance to biopsy/mark the site was due to the spot being tough to discern on the ultrasound... it didn't look very distinct from the rest of the tissue around it, and he wasn't convinced he was actually seeing the correct spot.
  • Today, he was convinced.
  • He was convinced because it was MORE distinct this time around.
  • It also seemed to be larger than it was the last time.
Stupid, cursed Frogurt...

I'm scheduled for a followup mammo in 3 weeks (enough time for the marker to get "anchored" to the site) to verify he really did tag the site, and then a followup appointment with Dr. K. after that.

The fact that it's changed and is growing is unnerving, but I'm glad I went back... I'm grateful both to my mom for initially getting me to question that first ultrasound that didn't find anything, and to all my friends (you know who you are) who convinced me to push back and not wait. Waiting isn't for me, anyway (as I found out), but you helped motivate me to get my butt back in there and do something.

So... no answers yet, more questions... but it seems like answers will be coming soon.

In the meantime, I'm keeping the fingers crossed, and moving forward. I've got a race to train for on Sunday! :-)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Frozen Shamrock!

Well, the Frozen Shamrock 3-miler was today! This is the first in a series of 3 races sponsored by local Irish Pubs (the Wild Rover Series). The weather folks were predicting rain turning to snow, starting around midday, so I wasn't sure what conditions were going to be like. Luckily, the weather was pretty good at the start (high 30's, no rain yet), so everything was GO!

A group of us from the office peer pressured each other to run today, and we all managed to show up. :-) Front row (L-R): Michelle, Me, and Jen. Back Row (L-R): John, Laura, and Mike.
Thanks to Jen's husband, Joe for taking the picture! :-)

Here's the view from the starting line:

The race was crowded at the start, but there weren't TOO many runners -- about 600 or so who registered ahead of time. Roads were only partly blocked off, which led to some confused (and obviously frustrated) motorists, but after the first substantial hill it was pretty good. A couple of shoppers got mixed up in the race and ended up running with us for a while until they got out at the parking garage. :-) I mapped the route using Runkeeper on my iPhone, and you can see the map here: (I started recording a little late, because I was expecting to cross a mat at the starting line, and there wasn't one... oops!)

Update: The times are in... 30:10:00 (gun time, since there was no mat at the start). Considering I was starting at the back of the crowd and I have no idea where the actual start line was, I'm really happy with that. :-)

After the race, the crowd seemed to be bigger for the free beer line. The rain had begun and it was COLD waiting in line, but we stuck around, got the beer (refreshing) and chili (warm!), and then left... we would have hung around, but the rain was getting colder and harder and it was getting more and more uncomfortable. Oh well. Maybe the next two will have better weather (fingers crossed). At least the drive home was pretty good, since it hadn't turned to snow yet.

Of course, I had to take pictures of the bling:
The medal is the first of three that will form a claddagh when combined with the others in the series. Nice touch, with the personalized bib numbers. :-)

Next week, the Claddagh Pub 4-miler in Lawrence!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Saga Stagnates...

Just a quick update for anyone following the "Saga of the Suspicious Mammogram"... my doctor's appointment today was rescheduled (Dr. K was called in for emergency surgery).

Next update: Tuesday, 2/24. Maybe.

However, it was a nice day out for a run... I got in a quick two miles just to get outside, and to get ready for the first "Wild Rover" race on Sunday. If it doesn't snow. Maybe even if it does snow. Who knows...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Not going to wait anymore... (or, "Questions, part IV")

Well, I got the phone call back from the doctor ("Dr. R") today. He spoke at length with the surgeon ("Dr. K"), and Dr. K did not believe an MRI would give him any more information than he already has.


The only option other than waiting is to attempt to tag the site. The plan would be (if I have this correct) to inject a metal marker into the site and biopsy it at the same time. Then follow up with another mammogram to make sure they got it. If not, then it's "second verse, same as the first" until they do get it.

I don't like waiting... Two days was enough for me. So, even though Dr. K wasn't confident he'd be able to find it with the needle, I'm going to call his office and make the appointments. I guess I'd rather just get it over with and know already, even if this takes multiple tries.

Why the change of heart? Mostly, friends who have gone through this experience, either first- or second-hand, telling me not to wait. Friends online, at work, old friends, recent friends... people are coming out of the woodwork with their personal stories. The common theme of every one: don't wait. Get as much information as you can, and keep going. I'm not good at leaving things unanswered anyway, but this was the most compelling reason to keep pushing. Thanks, everyone.

I'm planning on going out for multiple beers after this is over. Anyone with me? :-)

Update: I have an appointment with Dr. K on 2/18. We'll see where this goes from there!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Stay tuned...

OK, here's a better update, since I'm no longer on my cell phone. :-)

This morning, I went to see my primary care physician who agreed that 6 months, especially given my family history, is too long to wait. He did, however reassure me of two things: (A) Doctor K's (the specialist's) notes indicated that this something had no tell-tale signs of malignancy, and (B) given Dr. K's experience, his reluctance to go for a biopsy means that he really, really thought he could not reach this thing without poking around blindly.

Which makes me happy I didn't go for option 2 right away (tagging the site via biopsy needle), since I'd probably have been turned into a pincushion looking for this thing.

Dr. R (my primary care physician) suggested an MRI might be able to give Dr. K some more information, but wanted to chat with Dr. K first to see if he had any other ideas. I should be getting a phone call back either today or tomorrow.

So, I'm pretty upbeat about it all right now. Things are moving forward, and I'm happy with the way things are going. More info to come, I'm sure, but until then, onward and upward... :-)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Questions, part 2

I have since determined that waiting is not for me. I have never been more scatterbrained and distracted during day-to-day activities, and at night, without any other distractions, my stress level was through the roof. I am apparently too much of a control freak to leave something completely unanswered for 6 months, especially when the implications are a bit more serious than usual.

So, I've managed to score an appointment with my doctor tomorrow (hooray for cancellations!) and I'll push to see what some other options are.

Thanks to everyone for their comments and well-wishes (here on the blog and elsewhere). I'll post an update once we figure out what the next step is.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Questions and... more questions.

I'm one of those people who likes solving problems. Especially difficult ones. It feels good to wrestle with an issue, then finally have that "aha!" moment of triumph at the end. Unanswerable questions are fun riddles, but I don't like them in my life.

And life, of course, doesn't really care what I like. C'est la vie, of course. Har har har...

Last September, I went in for a routine mammogram (an early routine due to my mom's experience with breast cancer). The results indicated something out of the ordinary on my right side: a tiny, round blip on the x-ray film. They scheduled a follow-up ultrasound to try to figure out what it was (although they guessed it was probably a cyst). The next week, I went for the ultrasound and spent about 15-20 minutes while the technician looked for her target. Results: inconclusive. She couldn't find it. The technician recommended that I come back in 6 months for a follow-up mammogram and we'd start over then. The open-endedness of it all nagged at me, but I went home, planning to make another appointment for March.

Fast forward to Christmas, explaining the above story to my mom over a pot of chocolate fondue (mmm... fondue...). I was strongly encouraged to schedule it for three months instead, given that her cancer had progressed nearly to the lymph nodes before it could have been detected through a self-exam. The nagging part of my brain got quite a bit louder after that, and I finally called my doctor's office in January to ask his opinion of the whole situation. A week later, I received a phone call back from his office, referring me to a specialist. This wasn't exactly the response I was expecting (I figured I'd get sent back for another image to be taken). I was happy they were actively discussing the issue, but it also made me a bit nervous to think it's gotten this far.

Today was my appointment with the specialist, who also, oddly enough, happened to be the same doctor who removed my gall bladder in '97. I know this guy. Yay! He performed a follow-up ultrasound in his office and explained exactly what he was looking for, where it should be, etc.

The good news: He found it.
The bad news: It's not a cyst.
The questionable news: He's not sure what it is.

Other good news: Whatever this something is, it hasn't grown or changed shape since the initial mammogram in September. It's pretty small (1/4 inch in diameter), it's virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the tissue around it (which probably made it so hard to spot during the first ultrasound), and it doesn't look like anything problematic.

Other bad news: Whatever this something is, its size and position (pretty far back along the wall of the chest) make it very difficult to target. He doesn't want to biopsy it based on the ultrasound, because he's afraid he won't hit it.

The options:
  1. Wait 6 months and follow up with his office directly.
  2. "Tag" the spot where he thinks the something is by injecting a small metal tag (like a tiny wire) into the site, and comparing with a mammogram to see if he got the right location. The upside of this: we'd know (eventually) where this thing is. The downsides: it could take a while to get it, and the wire could potentially get in the way of a biopsy. It also seemed like a bone he was throwing me if I absolutely positively wanted him to do something now.

I voted for option 1. Option 2 seemed more like the "make the patient feel better" option, rather than doing anything really productive. Since this thing hadn't changed in three months, I was less worried about any immediate danger, and decided not to play hide-and-seek with a biopsy needle.

So I'm waiting... in July I get the next series of mammograms, and in August I get seen by the doctor again. The idea is to see if it's changed any, and to make any determinations from there. He's trying to solve this problem, himself, so he doesn't want to let this go. I can relate to that, in more ways than one right now.

So... I'm not really sure what I'm trying to get out of posting this. I think I just needed to say it, put it behind me and move on for the next 6 months. I've got a life to live, a great family, kids to play with, friends to laugh with, races to run and Spinning classes to teach. I don't have time to worry about something I can't do anything about right now.

Thanks for bearing with me, though. :-)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Told you I'd do it again!

Snowy run, originally uploaded by Jen Nolan.

I've realized that without goals (races, basically), my training goes nowhere. I've got a series of races planned (the Wild Rover series, see prior posts), but after that, not much.

So, I decided to sign up for Boston's Run to Remember, not as part of the 5-mile run, but for the half-marathon. The race is Memorial Day weekend, so I have even more time to train this time around. The course is nice, too, taking you down the Charles River, and pretty flat, so I'll probably enjoy it even more than the Manchester one.

So I printed out my half-marathon training plan today and went for my first run towards my next half. It was snowy, but I didn't hit the gym this morning (and didn't want to go at night). I figured the roads would be melting by lunchtime, and if they weren't, I could always turn around and go back.

It was beautiful. Warm enough for a long-sleeved shirt and vest... the roads were wet and slushy, but not slippery except for one spot near my turnaround. Scenery was pretty, so I had to stop and take a picture. :-)

Oh, and a little plug for RunKeeper (app for the iPhone): Gives you a nice map of your route while you use the phone as your GPS. :-)

Friday, January 16, 2009

A tad nippy this morning...

Yup. That's a "-" in front of that "18.7". Beach weather, anyone?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Run the Wild Rover Series!

Crosspost from my other blog

Looks like fun, with some good swag. And now I have a reason to drag myself out to run.

Now to decide if I want to go out in the ungodly wind chill today (when I forgot my fuzzy headband to keep my ears warm). Hmmm...

(Update: 15 degrees, 16-20 mph winds, wind chill of -1... I think I'll just stick with the treadmill until this passes)