Monday, October 31, 2011


i’m guessing some of you will recognize this word right away and some will wonder what the heck i’m talking about.  until last week i was in the latter category.  would not have had a clue.  it stands for the breast imaging reporting and data system. it’s mentioned on the note that they send you after every mammogram.  the categories are extremely well-researched and very defined and specific.  well, i never paid it the slightest attention.  i would open the notice, see the box that was checked and read exactly 2 words…. “no abnormality” (which is birads 1.) end of story.  in the file. 

even when i received a birads 0 two weeks ago, meaning that additional views are necessary before a number can be assigned, i ignored the categories.  it wasn’t until i was told that i need another follow-up mammogram in 6 months that i took the time to research the categories.  turns out that is birads 3.  it means that whatever they saw is “probably benign” with less than a 2% chance of malignancy, but needs to be looked at again to be sure it isn’t growing.  i found that fairly reassuring after 9 days of anxiety.

the sad thing is that at no time was any of this explained to me. i still have not been told what exactly they did see and i plan to follow up.  when i was waiting for results it just felt like a huge black hole of uncertainty.  most of the office staff are trained to say nothing and when they do tell you something it is vague at best because they are afraid of saying the wrong thing.

i personally would have found this whole process much easier to deal with had i known all about the categories and what they represented.  it’s partly my own fault for not doing the research but it also seems that a lot of information that could be helpful is kept from us.  we are left to swim in the sea of uncertainty until we choose to step out of it.

so the bottom line??  arm yourself with information.  be your own advocate.  ask a lot of questions even if they sound stupid.  seek another opinion if necessary.  knowledge is power, baby!!

 p.s. you know i will never write a post without images..... wasn't sure how to illustrate this one, so i'm just glad it's holloween!!  hope it's a happy and safe one for you!!!!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Limbo Land

i feel like that’s where i have been living these last 9 days…. that’s how long it’s been since i was notified that, after 20 straight years of clean mammograms, this time there was a problem.  of course everyone you seek to get information from is trained to say nothing.   i went in for “additional views” and the way that appointment went down did not serve to increase my confidence that everything was fine.  then when i tried to call for the results i was basically ignored.

 i’m not exactly a stranger to limbo-land.  for a person who has pretty much been the picture of health, i have had a whole slew of “false positives” in my life.  the grand-daddy of them all happened 3 years ago when i was told that an innocent-looking cyst in my side was actually malignant.  that put a whole series of events in place, including surgery, scans, and specialists.  there was a lot of waiting and limbo-land involved in the 2 and a half months before one of the specialists asked for a re-do on the biopsy and it was actually found to be benign.

 in theory, i welcome the opportunity to “practice” dealing with difficulty.  i get that life is not all about pleasure and avoidance of pain.  the reality, of course, is challenging.  i tried not to think too much.  went about my life.  i did a lot of writing.  petted my dog.  i observed my body and mind.  at times i was completely calm.  at other times, even while meditating, i could hear my heart beating.  stu was a prince, by my side every step of the way. 

we are re-reading parts of the power of now for the 4th time (it’s a book that can’t possibly be absorbed in one read-through!) very, very helpful.  also, i loved the simple words from my sweet friend lisa (who has been there and speaks with authority):   
ALL WILL BE WELL......   yes.

i finally heard from the doctor’s office while i was writing this.  not quite as satisfying as i had hoped – i need to follow up in 6 months.  so not the worst-case scenario, but looks like i am still going to be a casual visitor to the land of limbo for a while…. it's ok.

my camera has also been in limbo-land for the last 9 days (the shop).  so i decided to include these fun shots i took while playing with the light as the sun went down on big bear lake 2 weeks ago.  hopefully they will bring a little light to a not-so-lighthearted post!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tentative Frienships

have you had this happen?  you read someone’s blog and really resonate with something they said.  or maybe they find you for the same reason.  or maybe it’s a facebook status.  you communicate a few times and really feel a connection.  and next thing you know, they’re gone.  they have new friends and new connections.  (was it something i said??)


 i don’t want to be negative or judgmental about this process because, after all, there is real human connection going on and we all need that, right?  but i’m having a little trouble getting used to this new format of friendship.  it’s sooo fast-paced.  if you stay out of the loop for a few days or weeks, your so-called “friends” have moved on.  it’s like there is an inexhaustible supply out there, so your friendship is really not that important anyway.

personally, i can’t always keep up with that pace.  i need down-time.  away-from-people time.  and i want to know that if i don’t keep up a constant flow of communication that my friends will still be there for me.  that they won’t abandon me for new ones and leave me hanging.

 i have some friends i grew up with who i don’t communicate much at all with and yet, when we are together, the relationship is totally intact.  just like we haven’t been apart.   i love that.   just throwing it out there to see if anyone else can relate – would love to hear your thoughts!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011


it’s been a trying week.  it happens.  have you noticed how when things go awry they don’t seem to do so in isolation – they tend to clump up as if to bring all their friends along for the ride.  i’m not going to bore you with the details and i don’t want to dwell on it...  so  instead, i’m going to REDIRECT and share the highlight of the little birthday trip to big bear lake last week.  yup - we rented a boat.

howling - not sure what to make of this...

 the live version

finally settled down

blue water
hardly any boat traffic
calm waters
miles of shoreline to explore
really cool old cabins on the rocks
fall color
lotsa ducks
i feel better already…

hope your week has been better than mine!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wisp of Smoke

life chugs along at breakneck speed…
do you ever find yourself
wanting to grab a moment
hug it to yourself
with all the fierceness you can muster
and not let go??

i know, i know
i’m getting older…
seeing it slip away,
evaporate into a swirling wisp of smoke
never to return
to quote a line from one of my own poems:
“life moves in only one direction
there’s no turning back for further inspection”

sometimes i wish that that wasn’t the case….

i know acceptance is the key
(and gratitude)
it’s all good
and knowing that we are not alone
as we negotiate
 both the sunshine and the shadows
the sweet and the bitter….
that pretty much everyone on the planet
(lucky enough to make it this far)
has the same thoughts from time to time
and that’s just the way it is….
well, it’s comforting