Monday, March 12, 2012

Shiny New

Last time I posted I alluded to the fact that the stars were aligning for me in the kitchen department. Here are some photos.

Old oven range and microwave

Nice lightening bolt that appeared after it zapped the Muffin Man and his french fries. The Muffin Man loves his french fries.

And, the new....

Why yes, that is a gas range that replaced the electric. The plumber who tapped our existing gas line, that we didn't even know we had until a few years ago (thus the electric range to begin with) left the pipe 4 inches long. Standard new gas ovens need a 2" or shorter line. It was not a fine moment for anyone involved when I realized I'd have to bitch, I mean calmly call the plumber back to the house before the oven could be hooked up and pushed back into it's spot. To make a long boring story a bit shorter, ( is it too late?) 6 hours later I had my new microwave and range oven installed. And, yes I had to get assertive. Assertive was a euphamism for what happened during about 4 of the 6 hours.

In other shiny news I'm now 5 weeks out from the surgery. The foobs are feeling pretty good. I do often feel as though have a size 10 chest that is squeezing into a petite size 4. It's tight. When I get up out of bed I often feel them sloshing around. Odd to say the least, since they are a bit like wearing geodes on my front. How something so hard could be sloshing is beyond me.

I'm also following Dr's orders by "actively managing my scars", this means purchasing the ridiculously overpriced mederma tube of scar fading gel. Everytime I paint my scars with this gel, I wonder if this is all for not, since there is a good chance I will be swapping the rocks for silicone fun bags in a few months. Thus opening up the scars again. The verdict is still out on this one, as my doctor thinks the fillable saline is working for me now. Although, he reminds me each visit that he is reserving the right to change his mind in the silicone direction at any time. I get that, I'm in the "as a woman I reserve the right to change my mind" camp myself. Perhaps he likes to see neat fading scars each time I hop up on the table. Perhaps he's in bed with the Mederma people. Maybe they are all getting rich on the fact that I paid $20 for the tiniest tube of proprietary scar cream. Come to think of it I've only known this surgeon for 8 months and he is on his second vacation since we've met. These are the things you spend time with in my state.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, March 05, 2012

Why I'm Pretty Sure God Wants Me To Upgrade My Kitchen

When we built this house back in 1995, I was sure my kitchen would stand the test of time. I carefully selected natural maple cabinets, genuine simulated medium colored wood flooring, the very best frosty white formica counter tops $16.00 could buy and painted the whole thing a nice shade of light sage green.

It's stood the test of time rather well if I don't say so myself. Back in the mid 2000's, I don't remember when exactly, we replaced a refrigerator when it died and a dishwasher too after it almost burned the place down heating up an old chicken bone in it's motor. But that's it. The whole place is still an homage to light sage green and all of it's peaceful calming effects while cooking tacos in a crockpot.

Several weeks ago the Muffin Man pounded his chest and announced that his company was going to pay him a bonus. A bonus? What the hell is that? The last time his company paid him a bonus we took a trip to China and got Liv out of the deal. The kid is now almost done with kindergarten. As you can imagine now several weeks later, still no actual bonus safe and snug in our bank account, I have announced to the family that if and when there ever is this amazing cash cow that appears on our front lawn, we will be upgrading the kitchen.

After hearing this the Muffin Man said we could go look at new ovens and microwaves. One small step away from granite countertops, but I would take it. I felt slightly guilty since neither one was technically broken. But I was about 2 weeks post op. from this mastectomy business and was eager to kill a few hours in the high end appliance store where we couldn't afford to purchase anything. About 20 minutes into the trip standing amidst Viking and Wolf appliances one of the foobs started to ache in pain and I could hear nothing the salesman said. I announced to my family I needed a couch and a vicodin, and that was the end of new appliance shopping.

Or so I thought.

The other night the Muffin Man is baking some french fries when I hear a loud Zap. Then I hear a loud expletive followed by a wimpy groan. "The oven just shocked me," I hear him say. After pressing several buttons and hearing a few more shocks, he proclaims the oven dead. At this point we see a lightning bolt appear where the time used to display on the top of the range.
The oven is officially dead. We can bake nothing, no slice and bake cookies, no casseroles, no shrinky dinks.

Amped up with a little advil before the tour of appliance stores to look for new ovens this time, we drag the two children around town until we find the perfect GE Profile gas top range with double ovens, and a GE stainless steel microwave to match. They will be delivered this week. Or so the chubby hubby salesman says.

Still no bonus has appeared in our bank account, but clearly a higher being has spoken. You, my small midwestern family, do indeed need to upgrade your kitchen and I have given you the almighty zap of a mid range oven to start you off on the right foot. Thank me later in the form of good deeds and kindness to all mankind.

And this is why I think God wants me to have a updated kitchen.

I need only one more small act of freakish weather or locusts, or parting of salt water and I'm a shoe in for granite countertops with glass block back splashes.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, March 04, 2012

One Month Looking Back

Tomorrow marks the one month'aversary of my bilateral mastectomy. One month, I hardly know where the time has gone. One month ago I was determined to get through this new and hopefully temporary phase of my life to insure that I never get cancer again, but I was scared to willfully sign up for such big surgery. Waiting for the surgery was the hardest part. Dealing with the known is so much easier than where your mind can go with the unknown. Especially for those of us with creative imaginations and a flair for the dramatic.

Over the past month I've had a little time to reflect on this BRCA1 gene mutation, the sole reason for my choice of prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. My body's genetic marker mutation was the reason I had a triple negative breast cancer at the age of 31. This genetic code typographical error that I carry is the reason I chose to have my ovaries removed in August 2011, as BRCA1 is also directly related to a significantly higher risk of a deadly and not easily detected ovarian cancer.

Here is what I didn't know. Some BRCA1 gene mutation carriers experience premature ovarian failure with infertility as the only symptom. Despite our enthusiastic and at times unrelenting attempts at getting pregnant, the Muffin Man and I were never successful. We unhappily settled into that lack luster category of unexplained infertility for many years. But now, I wonder did my BRCA1 status rob us of our chances of biological children? Even though we may never know for sure, I have this queasy feeling that it is probably so.
I love my two girls more than anything, and I honestly wouldn't change the way they became part of our family through adoption. But it does in some small way feel like yet a new and stinging loss brought to us via this BRCA1 status.

There have also been some happier revelations this month I've spent moving at a snail's pace recovering from the surgery. When I was diagnosed with cancer 11 year's ago, I questioned if I had brought this to myself. Certainly not in a conscious way, but I wondered if the cancer was a result of my not handling stress well and this was my body's way of revolting. I wondered if my cancer was a direct result of some infertility treatments we chose and my fragile emotional state while pursuing these treatments. (I was diagnosed with cancer only weeks after losing an early pregnancy following IVF.) I wondered if my body crashed in the form of cancer because I was mentally or spiritually weak.

Here is the happy part. I now know all that was crap. I got cancer because I am BRCA1 positive. People with this genetic mis-code do not always have the ability to fight tumor growth. A malignant cell appears in a BRCA1 body and the body does not know how to fight it off, it ignores it and that little malignant cell multiplies furiously until cancer is detected and cut out, or chemically treated with chemotherapy. It has been tremendously empowering to now know that my cancer was indeed genetic, it was not becasue I lived near a power plant in upstate NY while in 1st grade. Nor did I cause my cancer with any wavering emotional state or high stress job.

As I look back over the last decade, I now see what an impact this little defective gene has had. It has taken body parts and it has made me driven to find my children born on the other side of the planet.

Good, bad and indifferent I look forward to the closure and finality of the impact this little gene mutation has had on my life. Perhaps now is not the time to hog the story and hope it can have positive impact on someone else's life.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad