Breast Cancer – Following Radiation

I finished my radiation in October 2018. The side effects, thankfully were minimal. I had a small amount of sun-burn type skin around my breast, and of course my 3 little tattoos. There is a permanent tan under my armpit, but no one ever sees there so it really doesn’t matter. 🙂

I’m thankful that someone, I think my sister ;), suggested using Glaxal Lotion and applying it after every treatment and every day. Actually she suggested slabbing it on, but you get the idea. It really saved the day. There are others you can use as well. Check with your oncologist for a list. For me, it’s always better to consult someone who has been through all of this already. Especially when it’s a family member.

My oncologist and doctor both suggested I also start taking Tamoxifen. Tamoxifen is an estrogen blocker. This made sense to me as my cancer was HR+ (hormone receptor positive). Basically it means the cancer was fed by estrogen. So the best way to knock out those little suckers is to starve them. If you’re interested, there is a great article about Tamoxifen on this site.

The concept of taking Tamoxifen is great and made total sense. The only down side for me was the side effects. Wow! They were really something else. It was like being pregnant all over again, only worse because there was no happy ending after 9 months. I was nauseous pretty much all the time, gained weight, was moody and extremely emotional. Of course I also had the aversion to some foods, again, just like being pregnant. The worst was Hawkins Cheezies. (Sorry, my neighbours to the south, only available in Canada). I used to love them. I couldn’t stand the sight or smell of them! Broccoli was also becoming a problem.

The worst side effect for me was the random anxiety. I recall one afternoon, we were all set to go to dinner then take the Skytrain into Vancouver to see the Canucks play. We don’t normally go to hockey games, but the tickets were given to us by one of Ed’s friends. We had been once before and had an awesome time. Amazing seats and the energy at a live game is something else.

We left the house and I was doing fine. A little anxious, but I wrote that off to not being out much in the last few months. Well, we got to the Skytrain parking lot and all I could see was a tube with no fresh air and no exits except for the stations. I panicked. There’s no way I could do that! What was I thinking? So, we turned around and headed for home.

Perhaps, part of my problem was another health issue I was having. I was also suffering with Vulvar Cysts and Vulvodynia. That’s another post for another time.

I endured this new drug for 3 months thinking it was the best thing for me to do. Nail these little cancer cells with everything I could. I just couldn’t take it anymore and talked to my doctor who agreed, I should go off it, for now at least…

Posted in Women's Issues | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Do I or Don’t I – How to Decide

How does a person decide whether to leave work for good, or just take a break? Do you stay for the money, the benefits, the chance for promotion? Do you leave for your health, your family, your sanity? All good questions. Thus the dilemma, do I or don’t I?

I guess the first thing to consider is what is making you feel like you want to leave at all. If you’re just tired of working, or the job itself, perhaps making a change is a better alternative. Of course, there is always the vacation or leave if a break is all that is needed. Maybe you just need a different position with your current employer. Check out the options open to you if that’s the case. Sometimes a change is as good as a break.

Maybe some additional training or school is in your future. Check out any courses that are available to you to better your education and that interest you as well. School without interest is not going to amount to anything for you. Perhaps your employer offers in house training that will help you succeed to get that promotion that you crave.

What if the reason you want to leave is bigger than that? What then? Well, a lot of that depends on the “why”. What if your health is being affected in a negative way? That’s not good for anyone, you or your employer. Stress, no matter how great or minimal can affect you in an adverse way. Trust me, this I know. Having been in a high-stress career for over 20 years I can tell you it does affect you. Not the headaches, the body aches, the things you can see. It’s the unseen that is the worst. Toxic worry or stress can be a killer, literally.

What if working and your family commitments are greater than you can manage? That’s not good either. It’s hard to balance sometimes. Most middle aged people, sorry guys, mostly middle aged women, are sandwiched between looking after parents, in-laws, children, and sometimes grandchildren as well. Of course, that doesn’t mean that their immediate family and household duties are on hold. They are still there. No matter how much laundry you do or dusting, it’s always still there. Just turn around and you’ll see what I mean! 🙂

What if your personal pride and reputation are at stake, then what? You’ve been doing a superb job. Senior management has told you so. Your district manager makes a special trip more than once to tell you what a great job you’re doing and how valuable you are to the company. You’re work record speaks for itself and everyone you work with tells you how much they enjoy working with you. They also tell you that you’re a wealth of knowledge and they count on you all the time.

The downside of that is that management piles on more and more responsibility without any authority to go with it. They acknowledge that is the case, but still do nothing. Having been in emergency services for over 20 years I can tell you without question to have responsibility you require authority as well.

What if someone has been lying about you and your behavior because she is after your job? What if she just can’t stay in her own lane and her own department? What if she is influencing the people who work with you into believing her instead of their own eyes and ears? What if she has sabotaged your performance to make you look incompetent? What if when she does work with you, she is completely insubordinate and disrespectful? What then? The answer is obvious, you go to management and report it right? One would think that would be the answer. What if you went to your senior management team no less than 8 times and nothing was done, even though they promised they would look after it?

What if you follow instructions from your management and this particular person(s) doesn’t like it? What if they decide to go to your Human Resources Department and lodge a complaint against you, even though you didn’t do anything to them?

Did I mention, this has been going on for about a year already?

What if management decides to convict you without an investigation of any kind, other than a quick chat with you and the other parties and reminds you of the Respectful Workplace Policy? What if your manager tells you that you shouldn’t be the one named on the complaint, it should be them? What then?

What if, you resign because of this unfair treatment? You think about it, it makes sense. So you resign, based on the treatment you have received. Then your Human Resources department asks you to reconsider. So you do! You return to work in the same position, same pay, same responsibilities, no authority, no change at all.

What if your accuser/attacker continues to attack? More subtly this time around. Simple glares at you as you walk by. Not saying thank you when you open the door for them, or responding to your “Good Morning.” Continues to influence your co-workers against you. Like I said nothing changed.

So, you’re plugging along trying to do the best job you can under the circumstances and then surprise, surprise you get called into another meeting. Curious what this one is about, then they nail you right between the horns! You are read a letter written by the manager himself under the direction of the Human Resources department. It states that you have been abrupt to some of the staff and have had a negative impact on morale. What? This is a shocker! Never heard that before.

So, you have been tried and convicted of a accusation without the courtesy of an investigation. Management and the Human Resources department have not spoken to anyone other than yourself and the accuser(s). Remember, you went to management about these accuser(s) more than 8 times and nothing was done and now they’re convicting you!

So, now what? With your pride in tact, you write your resignation letter. Your husband jumps on board and writes a letter of the events from his point of view. Both very well written letters I might add. You send them into all senior management, effective immediately. Phew! You have finally broken free. You’d think so, wouldn’t you.

No such luck. Human Resources contacts you and asks you to reconsider again, because you are such a valuable employee. So valuable, that nothing was done before now? You explain how you feel about the treatment you have received and that no investigation was done. How can that be? So, they ask you to put your resignation on “pause” until they complete their investigation. So you do.

Now you wait. You provide names of all the people you worked with who should have been interviewed already. The list is long and none of them agree with the accuser(s). Why didn’t they talk to all these people before now?

So what are you thinking while all this is going on in the background? You’re thinking do I really want to go back to a place that would allow someone to be treated this way? No, you don’t. But, wait a minute! What about the money, the benefits, the discount? All comes into play. Can you survive without the money? Can you survive without the benefits, the discount? Of course you can!

So what now? You have no choice but to wait while they finish their investigation. You’re a reasonable person. You know these things take time. Nevermind the sleepless nights you’ve spent, the lack of focus during the day. The effect it is having on your family, friends and the co-workers who miss you and are now being interviewed. At least you hope they are.

What about your health? Is it being affected? Of course it is! You can’t have sleepless nights and think that your body isn’t paying the price. Remember those unseen stressors? They’re lurking in the background waiting to attack. Remember, your own health history? Is it worth sacrificing again? Life is all too short on it’s own without helping it along.

What to do? You flip flop between going back and not. The money sure was nice after all. Gave us those little extras that everyone needs. The working, itself was good for the soul, and the body. Kept the cobwebs out of the attic and the body moving. The self pride of a job well done at the end of every day was good for the spirit. The discount sure helped out.

So, there in lies the dilemma…Do I or Don’t I – How to Decide.

Posted in Just Stuff | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Maybe God Wanted us to Meet the Wrong People

Originally posted Monday, 20 August 2012

I’m not even sure where I got this one, so unfortunately, I can’t give credit where credit is due. It is a very good perspective on people and how they affect us.

Maybe God Wanted us to Meet the Wrong People

Maybe God wanted us to meet the wrong people before
meeting the right one so that when we finally meet the
right person, we will know how to be grateful for that gift.

Maybe when the door of happiness closes, another
opens, but often times we look so long at the closed
door that we don’t see the one which has been opened for us.

Maybe the best kind of friend is the kind you can sit
on a porch and swing with, never say a word, and then
walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had.

Maybe it is true that we don’t know what we have got
until we lose it, but it is also true that we don’t
know what we have been missing until it arrives.

Giving someone all your love is never an assurance
that they will love you back. Don’t expect love in
return; just wait for it to grow in their heart; but
if it doesn’t, be content it grew in yours.

It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an
hour to like someone, and a day to love someone, but
it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

Don’t go for looks; they can deceive. Don’t go for
wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes
 you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day     seem bright. Find the one that makes your heart smile.

There are moments in life when you miss someone so
much that you just want to pick them from your dreams
and hug them for real. Dream what you want to dream;
go where you want to go; be what you want to be,
because you have only one life and one chance to do
all the things you want to do.

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet,
enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to
keep you human, enough hope to make you happy.

Always put yourself in others’ shoes. If you feel that
it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person, too.

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best
of everything; they just make the most of everything
that comes along their way.

Happiness lies for those who cry, those who hurt,
those who have searched, and those who have tried, for
only they can appreciate the importance of people who
have touched their lives.

Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss and ends with a tear.

The brightest future will always be based on a
forgotten past, you can’t go on well in life until you
let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone
around you was smiling.
Live your life so that when you die, you are the one
who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

Posted in Just Stuff | Leave a comment

Breast Cancer – The Radiation

Just to keep everyone up to speed I thought I’d give you a quick summary of where we are. I had my regular screening mammogram in March, followed by a diagnostic mammogram, followed by an ultrasound, followed by a biopsy, diagnosed 29 May, followed by 2 lumpectomies, one on 8 June the other 27 July. Finally, onto the final stage of my treatment schedule.

The next step for me was going to be radiation, after the healing from the surgeries was complete. I was scheduled for my first appointment at the Cancer Clinic in Abbotsford in September. That was just a consult appointment with the radiology oncologist. It went well. As always there was lots of information and lots of questions. I then had the physical exam and was advised of the procedures to be followed. The doctor told me that I would have to have 3 little tattoos. He was about to ask if I would be okay with that when he noticed I already have a rather large one on my leg. 🙂

The next step was to come in and get the setup for the series of 16 radiation treatments that were to follow. That required having two technicians position me on a table set up exactly as the radiation tables are. Once in position, they then did a CT scan to be sure that everything lined up. The hardest part about this whole this was lying completely still. Of course, you know what happens when you try to do that…you get an itchy nose, or have to sneeze. Well, almost on schedule my nose began to itch. Oh well, hold still! It only lasted a couple seconds, so that was fine. Oddly enough once I could move my nose wasn’t itchy anymore 🙂 Then came the tattoos. They are three tiny dots. Only I know they are there. Largely because of where they are, and because they are so small.

Then I was given a tour of the facility and the procedures for each of my visits. I was given a cubby to put my things in during the treatments and was to keep my gown there for the week. Saves on laundry and makes a whole lot of sense to me. I was also able to keep my Glaxal lotion there to apply after every treatment. Highly recommended. Sure helped the skin heal. So now I’m all set.

The first day it is all a mystery, even though I’d been through the tour and the step by step instructions from the staff. It was a little scary, not really knowing what was going to happen. Well, it wasn’t that bad at all. The treatment itself only lasts couple minutes. The longest time is getting set up. After the first day it was a piece of cake. The technicians were great. All in all, not a bad experience at all. Again the hardest part was being completely still during the treatment. If you move, the wrong area would be radiated and no one wants that!

I was one of the lucky ones. My treatments weren’t bad at all and my skin held up quite nicely. I have a permanent tan under my armpit and around the breast, but no one is the wiser. My first mammogram after 6 months was clear. I have to go for diagnostic mammograms from now on, no more screening mammograms for me.

I can’t say enough about the treatment I received from all the professionals involved in my care. They all were fantastic, knowledgeable and gracious. I can’t stress enough about getting your mammograms regularly and annually! If you find anything unusual on your own, or your partner finds it 😉 get it checked out immediately. Don’t panic, but get it checked.

I celebrated after my surgeries, treatments and healing were all done by getting a new tattoo. My kids, their partners and my new grandson gave me the $$$ as a Christmas gift to have it done. I waited until June to actually have the tattoo done. Waiting for the right time and place to have it done of course. It is proudly displayed inside of my right wrist. I love it!

I couldn’t have done any of this without the love and support of my family and friends. Their support means the world to me. From my kids being there and listening, even though at times I’m sure my woes was the last thing they wanted to hear, to my friends checking in weekly to see how I was doing and most of all to my husband Ed for being my rock through all of it. He was at my side for every appointment and every up and down that we went through. For any of you who have to go through any form of cancer, please always remember you aren’t the only one going through it! It affects every one in your circle, and even some on the outside of it. Just always try to remember…no one fights alone!

Posted in Women's Issues | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Breast Cancer – had the lumpectomy, now what?

After waiting the required 2 weeks I got the results from the biopsy of the lumpectomy. (Wow that is a bit of a tongue twister). The results were good. There was no actual cancer in the cells that they removed. The cells were confirmed as pre-cancer cells. Good news! Whew! Now onto radiation, right? Not…

Turns out that the surgeon wasn’t happy with the margins that they had. For those that don’t know what that means, it is the area around the affected cells. He wanted to have a margin of 2 cm on all sides. Turns out they had 1.9 on one side so he was happy with that, but the other side was only .9 cm. So, what does that mean? You guessed it, more surgery.

This surgery wasn’t as critical as the first so I had to wait even longer to get my date for that. I did eventually get the date for that at the end of July. Of course, that would mean another 2 weeks after that to be sure that the margins were what the doctor wanted. Thankfully, the surgery went as expected and the recovery was minimal, other than the dreaded getting the system back up and running. Bring on the prune juice!

Now my next two weeks waiting was done and I had my, hopefully, last appointment with the surgeon. He was happy with the results. Okay, now what? Now onto radiation and possibly medication following. It was doubtful I would need the medications, but I was prepared for them anyway. Back to doing my research on that. Tamoxifen would be the drug of choice. Thankfully there is lots of information about that on the net. Thank you uncle Google!

So now on to radiation treatments. He suggested that I have 16, but that would also be up to the radiology oncologist. I was then referred to the Cancer Clinic at Abbotsford hospital. I had to wait for them to call me with a date for my consult, so, you guessed it, more waiting…

Stay tuned for the next segment of Breast Cancer – The Radiation

Posted in Women's Issues | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Breast Cancer – the Lumpectomy

I got my appointment for my lumpectomy. It was June 8, it was very quickly after my diagnosis which was May 29. The doctor that was doing the surgery had an opening, but there was a catch.

Because it was booked so quickly I had to go to two different places to have the surgery done. The first part was the insertion of a wire into the affected area of the breast. This was done at Jim Pattison Breast Health Clinic. It wasn’t as painful as I thought as they were doing it without freezing. The procedure was again explained to me in great detail. When the doctor came in, yet another new face, he asked how I was. I said, “Good, but that’s not really important, I’m more concerned about how you’re feeling today. Are your hands steady?” He chuckled and assured me they were.

I was then hooked up to the mammogram machine again with a very precise plate covering the area. It was a lot smaller than they had used before and had a very tiny hole in the middle. The technician then took pictures and made sure that I was in the machine at the right angle and they had a direct hit in line with the little hole in the plate. As is quite often the case, the nurse or the technicians do all the work and the doctor gets all the glory. 🙂

Now I’m all lined up and pinned in the mammogram machine waiting for the doctor. The one with the steady hands. 😉 He comes in and with no freezing inserts a very long needle into my breast through the little tiny hole in the plate. Surprise, surprise, it didn’t hurt! I was expecting the same kind of pain as the biopsy. There was a little pin prick kind of feeling, and then nothing. It took seconds and it was all over.

Then the nurse taped me up covering the wires and I got dressed. Without my bra of course. I didn’t dare look, I didn’t want to see any wires sticking out of me. 🙂 We then drove over to the hospital where the surgery was going to be performed.

The nurses got me all prepped and ready to go. They told me I might have to wait awhile as there were other surgeries that had priority. So we were prepared to wait. Then the doctor came in and explained exactly what he was going to do. He then asked me which side it was and I told him. He then made a funny mark just above the breast. Think he would know where he was going to be operating with a wire sticking out of me, but it was standard procedure. He then told me he was taking me in right away! I was surprised and relieved we didn’t have to sit around and wait any longer than necessary. 

I was wheeled into the operating room and before I knew it I was waking up after a nice nap. They then wheeled me back to my starting place and we waited a very short time and I was released. All in all it seemed very quick to me. I’m sure it wasn’t all that quick for Ed who spent most of his time waiting. I think it’s harder for the care-giver or your support person than it is on you. All the waiting and wondering. I spent my time being prodded at poked at and sleeping so my time was occupied, but Ed had to just sit and wait.

We then drove home and that was that! A portion of me was missing, but I was relieved that “that stuff” was out of me. There was no pain to speak of, but I was uncomfortable. Of course, the hardest part is getting the body functioning properly again after the anesthetic. Bring on the fruit juice! Prune, oh yeah, my favourite. 🙂 I felt amazingly calm through the process and in good spirits. Looking back I think that really helped keep me at ease, and speed the healing.

So, now what’s the next step. Oh ya! The follow up with the surgeon and the results of the biopsy of the cells they removed. So, you guessed it, more waiting…

Stay tuned for the next segment in my series, “Breast Cancer – had the lumpectomy, now what?”.

Posted in Women's Issues | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Breast Cancer – after the biopsy

Had my appointment scheduled for 2 weeks after the biopsy procedure.  When they say, the waiting is the hard part, they aren’t kidding!  It was 2 weeks of pure anxiety.  Trying to keep yourself busy and not think about “the appointment.” I thought I was handling it well waiting for the results, but lurking in the background was that feeling that something was terribly wrong. It just wouldn’t go away.

Then the office called and wanted me to come in 4 days early as they had the results in already. Then began a real mixed bag of emotions. Good it will be over sooner rather than later, and oh no, does that mean the results aren’t good and they want me in right way to give me the bad news?! So, of course I took the earlier appointment. Would be a fool not to!

Then the day came. The dreaded appointment. A day I will never forget…

So, I met another doctor. He came in with my folder in his hand. Thankfully my husband was in the room with me. About all I heard after introductions, was cancer, mastectomy, lumpectomy and surgery sooner rather than later! It was all a blur. Ed luckily picked up all the words in between and squeezed my hand and gave me that “It’s going to be okay” look.

What he actually said was that I had pre-cancer, or stage zero breast cancer and going with a mastectomy wouldn’t be required at this time. He would do a lumpectomy to remove all the affected cells. This would be followed by radiation treatments and possibly medication as well. 

Then he explained the margins he wanted. He wanted to see 2cm margins on all sides of the area. I nodded, but had no clue what he was talking about. Then he said he had an opening the following Friday and he’d like me to grab that spot. This was all happening so fast!

The next thing I knew they scuttled me out of the room and into a quiet area and handed me a bunch of papers to fill out. Even though I was trying hard to be strong, that dang tear was back and it rolled down my cheek again. Now I knew I was going to be fine, but it was still very scary.

I headed home in shock after that appointment, but with the realization that it hadn’t been the best news, but it surely wasn’t the worst. This was pre-cancer and they were going to get it out of me and quickly. More waiting now for the surgery appointment date to arrive, and instruction of what to do and where to go on the big day.

Stay tuned for the next segment… Breast Cancer – the Lumpectomy!

Posted in Women's Issues | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Breast Cancer – the biopsy

After my screening mammogram, diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound, the next step was the biopsy.

“They found something in the mammogram that needs following up” they said. There was a group of cells that they didn’t like and they wanted to take a biopsy of that area. Okay, now what I thought? Turns out there are 3 different types of cells; Definitely cancer, definitely not cancer and those they can’t determine without a biopsy. My type fell into the latter category.

So another appointment. This time at the Jim Pattison Breast Cancer Clinic in Surrey. The staff there were great. I was a bit nervous about the procedure, but the staff there were wonderful. Without them it would have been horrifying for sure.

First a doctor examined me, then a nurse explained the procedure to me in great detail so there would be no surprises, right? Wrong! The biggest surprise was how painful it was.  One of the things the nurse told me was that during the procedure they use local freezing.  Sometimes it doesn’t take, especially on large breasted women.  Well, that’s me!  One of those times it doesn’t pay to have big boobs! 🙂 If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you that may be the only time 🙂

I knew that sometimes the freezing didn’t work, and I had to be one of those it didn’t work for. So here I was locked into the mammogram machine with no chance of movement with a probe drilling into my breast. I’m sure it was a very small instrument, but believe me it felt like the old water well drilling machines I saw as a kid. The nurse was holding my hand trying to console me.  I just focused on my breathing and tried not to scream!  Fortunately it didn’t last long at all.  It was over before the third tear could roll down my cheek.

As soon as the drilling is complete, they remove you from the machine, place a bandage and ice-pack on the area.  Then you get dressed and you go home to wait some more.  This wait was the longest yet, 2, count ’em two weeks.

Stay tuned for – Breast Cancer – Biopsy Results

Posted in Women's Issues | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Breast cancer – Get your mammograms – annually!

Probably the most important event in my life in the last few years was being diagnosed with breast cancer 29 May 2018. (Funny how I used the exact date and not just the year.  Guess it’s one that will forever stick in my mind).  It was a shock, but not as much as you’d think it’d be.  When I had my mammogram in March, somehow I knew.  It wasn’t any more painful than usual, no sign from the tech, just a feeling I had.  I learned some time ago to always trust these feelings. (As a reminder of my intuitions and feelings read my 3:11 post.) Three Eleven (3:11)

I always go annually for my mammogram. Like the nurse at my doctor’s office told me years ago when I asked her how often I should go, she said: “I just go when they send me the reminder.”  I have followed her advice since that day way back when. Thankfully that’s the case.  If I was going every two years my situation would have been a whole lot different.

After my mammogram I did the usual waiting.  No news is good news right?  I didn’t get my usual follow up letter saying it was normal and that my doctor had been advised.  Instead I got the dreaded call.  “They want you to come in for more testing.” What does that mean?

Having been through this a couple years ago, I knew what it meant.  It meant a diagnostic mammogram.  Even then I knew that something was wrong.  They gave me an appointment right away.  That’s always a good thing.  So I had the diagnostic mammogram.  

It’s a little different than the annual screening mammogram that we all have. The procedure is similar, but more detailed. Then you sit and wait while the radiologist examines the pictures and decides if they need another picture, your clear and can go on your way, or you need to come back for an ultrasound.  While I was waiting, I just knew.

Then the nurse goes back and forth between rooms and her smile turned to a neutral face.  Hmmm, not good I thought.  Then she comes to me with a piece of paper stating that I need to come in for the ultrasound.  That’s the next step. Having been through this before, I knew that was the next step.  So I booked the appointment for that.  

I’d been through this routine a couple years before and it turned out to be nothing.  So I was hopeful that this would be the case again, but I couldn’t help this feeling I was getting.

So, I go to the ultrasound and the technician is quiet as a mouse as they usually are.  Then I heard the dreaded “hmmm” while she was waving her wand over the same spot over and over.  Then the “You’re doctor will get the results in 2-3 business days.”  Yikes! That didn’t sound good.  Again the waiting… 

I didn’t have to wait long, the doctor called me the next day.  He told me that they found something and I needed to go for a biopsy.  A biopsy!  What does that mean?  I didn’t have to do that before so I had no idea what to expect.  More waiting was to be the next step.  I got an appointment for my biopsy at Jim Pattison Breast Health Clinic in Surrey.

Stay tuned for my next segment: Breast Cancer – The biopsy.

I have attached some info from the National Breast Cancer Foundation below.  It explains the procedure much better than I could.



What is the difference between a diagnostic mammogram and a screening mammogram?
A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast. While screening mammograms are routinely administered to detect breast cancer in women who have no apparent symptoms, diagnostic mammograms are used after suspicious results on a screening mammogram or after some signs of breast cancer alert the physician to check the tissue.
Such signs may include:

A lump
Breast pain
Nipple discharge
Thickening of skin on the breast
Changes in the size or shape of the breast

A diagnostic mammogram can help determine if these symptoms are indicative of the presence of cancer.

As compared to screening mammograms, diagnostic mammograms provide a more detailed x-ray of the breast using specialized techniques. They are also used in special circumstances, such as for patients with breast implants. What’s involved in a diagnostic mammogram?

If your doctor prescribes a diagnostic mammogram, realize that it will take longer than a normal screening mammogram, because more x-rays are taken, providing views of the breast from multiple vantage points. The radiologist administering the test may also zoom in on a specific area of the breast where there is a suspicion of an abnormality. This will give your doctor a better image of the tissue to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.

In addition to finding tumors that are too small to feel, mammograms may also spot ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). These are abnormal cells in the lining of a breast duct, which may become invasive cancer in some women.

Check out their website here for more information: https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/diagnostic-mammogram

Posted in Women's Issues | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ed Pretty – Wood Artist

Originally posted 3 July 2013

Let me introduce you to an outstanding artist, Ed Pretty.  I love his work, all of it, always have and always will.  Unfortunately because the medium he uses was a trade for many years most people still consider it a craft rather than art. It seems that most people don’t view something as art unless it hangs on a wall.  Hogwash! I say. 

The type of artist I’m speaking of is a “Wood Artist” or “Woodturner.”  Woodturning is most commonly known for making spindles, table legs, salad bowls, that sort of thing.  Only recently is it starting to be considered as an art form rather than just a craft.  If you don’t believe me, check out the instant gallery at any of the AAW (American Association of Woodturners) symposiums to see for yourself.

Ella’s Slotted Spoon

One of Ed’s first turned pieces was for his mother Ella.  She needed a new handle for her slotted spoon, so Ed made one for her.  He recalls he was about nine years old at the time.  That’s just a few years ago 🙂 62 to be exact.  

I remember the first turning I received from Ed.  It was back in 1997 as a Christmas gift when we were working together.  I was lucky enough to get one the following year as well.  I love these little pieces, they still sit proudly on a shelf in the bedroom.




Ed was getting bored with “round and brown” as he puts it, so he started coloring wood to enhance its natural beauty, not cover it up.  He uses dyes rather than paints or stains on most of his pieces.  Painting will cover up the wood completely.  Stains sit on top of the grain, which isn’t an undesirable trait depending on your goal.

Burgundy Ring Holder

He made a lovely colored bowl for a very special occasion in July 2002.  His wedding.  It is a lovely burgundy color piece that has been enhanced by “lime-waxing” making it a combination of burgundy and white.  Inside there are satin ring slots. The young fellow, his step-son, who was his ring bearer carried this piece instead of the traditional small pillow. It also has a “special” spot in his house.

The “That’s Not Leaving the House Collection” was born when Ed made a gift for a friend.  He calls it “Harmony.”  It has become his signature piece.  It is a combination of round and square, black and white, large and small, old and new.  It is a lovely piece thwarting all traditional woodturning techniques and styles.  His wife liked it so much she said, “You’ll have to make something else for a gift, that’s not leaving the house.” Thus the collection was born.  It increases on a regular basis. His newest piece is struggling to make it to the gallery and not become part of this rare collection.  He told his wife that if it sells, it’s a cruise.  How can you argue with that logic? 🙂

Harmony

Ragtime, side 1
Ragtime, side 2

Ed’s work has progressed over the years and is now something of a marvel.  I’m still amazed at his most recent work.  Having been there during the progression, I’ve become a large part of the idea, or brainstorming, phase for his newest pieces. Ideas and inspiration come from the strangest places and at all times convenient or not, doesn’t matter. Sometimes it’ll be on a cruise from a liquor bottle, or at a restaurant from a salt shaker on the table.  Of course there is always the middle of the night “Light-bulb” or “Aha” moments that Ed thankfully keeps to himself.

Ragtime, side 3

In case you’re wondering how I happen to know about these middle of the night events, I guess I should tell you that Ed is my husband. I didn’t forget to mention it, I chose to wait until now to give it more of a punch, so to speak. I also didn’t want you to think I was biased or anything. 🙂

In keeping with the theme that art isn’t art unless it’s hanging on the wall, Ed now puts some of his work on the wall.  What else is a guy to do?  Some of these pieces are the most intriguing of all.  At his show in November 2012, the wall pieces were the first to sell.  I think this method is going to continue into something exciting.  Stay tuned.

If you’d like to have a closer look at more of Ed’s work.  Check out his website. Ed’s Woodturning You’ll find it quite amazing I assure you. He also does commission pieces. If you are interested in learning to turn, he also does instruction in his shop at our home here in Langley, BC.

If you’re a Facebook member, you can join our group called “Ed’s Woodturning” or like us on Facebook at “Ed Pretty – Wood Artist” 

What does the future hold?  Who knows?  We are always searching for new galleries and shows; getting the word out there and informing the public about woodturning as an art form, not just salad bowls and spindles. For the record, I don’t have one single salad bowl in the house, but I do have a lot of “Wood Art” and hope to keep it that way for many years to come.

Posted in Just Stuff | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment