Friday, June 24, 2011

Instincts.. To trust them or not?

      So I'm trying to decipher if I'm a hypochondriac, or if I'm a normal human being with rational fears. As some of you may know, 9 years ago, I was diagnosed with Osteogenic Sarcoma. It is a form of bone cancer doctors found inside my rib cage. 3 ribs, half of my diaphragm gone, and 9 years later, I am and have been cancer free! My health since has been pretty fair. Some times better than others of course, but up until most recently, my health and ailments (we'll call them), seem to be at their busiest. Sprained ankles, migraines, stomach issues, you get the picture. And to think it was all starting to settle down. Ha! Once again, something else has occurred. About 2 months ago, I found a lump in my left breast that naturally caused some concern. I watched it for a couple days, finding that it hadn't decreased or increased in size. I called my GYN and scheduled an appointment to have this looked at just to be safe. I will tell you, it absolutely baffles me how casual people are about lumps in the breast. HELLO, don't you people know there is breast cancer out there. You're not supposed to have lumps in your breast! Well, my worries and natural concerns were swiftly put aside and I was told that it was probably something with my breast implant. "A fold perhaps." Oh, I think I forgot to mention that part. My children not only ruined my physique, but they also sucked every bit of life I once had in my upper members. Therefore, implants were a MUST to give those creatures God has blessed me with some sort of life back! Anyways, carrying on; after the appointment, she sent me upstairs to have an Ultrasound done. Well $225.00 later and a very angry woman, I left feeling like no person should ever feel. The Ultrasound Tech was not only cold and insensitive, but insisted that there was nothing in my breast and that it was merely a figment of my imagination. My parting words with her were nothing short of kind, and I naturally wished her only the best in her journey to find a heart on my way out! GRRRR!! How dare she make me feel this way! Anyways, as I suspected, the doctor called a few days later advising exactly what the tech had found, and said there was not much else to do. She did however mention ordering an MRI to rule out a rupture in my implant. Perhaps this was the cause for the abnormal lump. I quickly took the order and off I went for the MRI. An hour and a half later, with 4 days following, on top of another co-payment, the results were still not what I wanted. No lump was found, and my implant was indeed intact. GREAT! But not really! Why was this lump still there? How could I feel it, but no one could see it with these AMAZING hi-tech machines that you have to pay for by merely selling your limbs. Needless to say, I wasn't satisfied with these results. Something was going on in my breast, and I was going to find out what it was. Now, here brings me back to the original question. Am I a hypochondriac or are my fears rationalized? The lump I have is about the size of a quarter. It is mobile, shaped circular and a bit oval. It feels fluid filled, almost as if pushing on a small balloon, filled with water. And recently, is becoming more visible on the outer part of my skin. After giving me the results to the MRI, she also gave me the name and number to a local general/breast surgeon if I wanted a second opinion. Hmmm…alright…, so that's done. Let's ship you off and have you bother someone else. I hated the way things had been handled, how they made me feel. I felt small, stupid almost, as if this lump didn't exist. Was it just my imagination? Was I creating this lump that wasn't there? No, I wasn't! It was there and I was going to get the answers I needed. 
 Two weeks later, I finally conjured up the courage to contact the doctor she had referred me to. With that being said, the appointment was scheduled and It was time that I was going to stand my ground. 
Walking into this doctor's office was thankfully a huge relief. The office staff was more than kind and ready to answer any questions I had. I met with the doctor and immediately he had his nurse ready and waiting with the ultrasound machine. After surveying the area and locating the lump, FINALLY he found it!!!! The mass on my breast that NO ONE else could find!!! He took a few pictures and then had me dress so we could discuss our options. The only option possible, with the implants is to have the lump surgically removed on an outpatient basis. It will leave a scar on the top part of my breast, but hey, I’ll take the scar for peace of mind and knowing that the lump is gone. Surgery is scheduled for Friday, July 1st and I'm more than ready to finally get the answers I’ve been waiting a while now to get.  
 Since my appointment, I have found another lump in my right breast. I will admit, my fears of it being the worst are there. They're trying to take over, but my will to know that everything will be fine is so much stronger. I'm not teenager anymore. Being diagnosed with Cancer back than wasn't as scary as it is today. I have a family that needs me and more importantly, I need to be here for them! I meet with the surgeon again on Monday to go over my new findings and see what needs to be done.
 While I wait for the procedure, I will leave you with this. I was never a woman that thought to check her breasts for lumps. It actually never entered my mind. But that day came when something told me this needed to be done and I haven't stopped thanking God since! What if I hadn't .... There's probably a really good reason. But none I'm willing to ponder on. Until we meet again...  

Friday, June 17, 2011

What friendship means to me.

Lately the definition of friendship has been a pondering thought in my daily routine. What is friendship? I know what the definitions tell me; "the state of being a friend". Well, okay, but again. What is a friend? So many ways to define this. The definition, seemingly the most popular for this one states; it is a person whom one knows, likes and trusts. ( Alright. I get it. So as I kept reading, I noticed the word VALUE. The value that is found in friendship. Hmmm.. Something more to ponder. Now, I question what are my values in my friendships. I came up with a few, but nothing really jumped out at me. Was there anything I valued in a friend or a friendship. Sure there was. There had to be. So I thought harder. These are some of the things that I came up with; 
~ Being a friend to me means desiring what it best for the other individual.
~ Sympathy and empathy when needed. No, they're not the same.
~ Honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth, especially in terms         of pointing out perceived faults of one's counterpart.
~ And finally, positive reciprocity.

Now, some of you may think, wow! This one is all for herself, however that is farthest from the truth. If you really think about it, no one person or persons, for a long period of time anyways can actually say that they will do, and do, and do with expecting nothing in return. Now, I don't say I have to have positive reciprocity for everything I do for my friends. That's not the case at all. However, when things are done over and over, isn't it only kind to return the favor. Like common courtesy, if you will. Judge me if you choose, but remember, this is what I'm writing for.

Now, back to what I was saying, I, as most do, have my share of friends. Some closer than others, knowing pretty much all there is to know about me. Weaknesses, strengths, fears, you get the picture. All of which, generally stays beyond public knowledge. Being a friend, is probably one of the most important things that I can be with others. Friendships are important bonds made between people that can carry on an entire lifetime. Some friendships are built for individuals no matter what. Trials, distance and certain life changes, just simply will never allow them to disconnect. I happen to blessed with a couple of these. PRAISE GOD! However, you always find yourself with those friends that now a days, would only refer to as acquaintances. The one's that just seem to drain you. Like a leech, just sucking the life out of you. Always demanding something, taking advantage and just overlooking the fact that, HEY! I'm human, a person, not a doormat, not a babysitter and certainly not a catch all. Then there's the ever so joyous "know it all".. Or the even better, "anything you can do, I can do better". Yes, don't try to deny it, you know you've had some of these individuals in your life at one point, and perhaps may still. But, me.. It's time to clean house! 

So I guess what I'm trying to say here, or even wonder, am I, and have I been the best friend I can be. Am I doing my part as a friend should to make my friendships the best they can be. Listen, I get it, I'm a woman, I'm a mom of 3, a wife, I have 2 dogs, I'm back in school, and a house to take care of. But regardless of how busy I am or how "life can get in the way of things", my friends with always have some of my time. They are who make me, a part of them is with me subconsciously always. Wether it's listening to a song on the radio, buying something at the grocery store, anything. My friends are a huge part of my life. They help me learn and grow as a woman, a mom, and perhaps even a wife. I couldn't and wouldn't trade them for the world. So I guess I'll leave you as I don't want to begin rambling. But I leave you with some of my favorite quotes from the bible. I wish I could say yes, I pulled my bible out and read through it a few times to remember where these quotes were, but who am I kidding, I've got all 3 kids awake, demanding breakfast and ready for the day to start. So internet quotes they are. Enjoy your day and remember to ask yourself; are you being the best friend you can be? Till next time.... 

"Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor. 

For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up. 
Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken." ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 - (New King James Version) 

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 
You are my friends if you do what I command. 
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. " ~ John 15:12-15 

And last but not least, my favorite; 

"Do to others as you would have them do to you." ~ John 6:31