The recent loss of a four footed family member

I’ve had a lot of pets throughout my life. Dogs, cats and a mouse. They have all held a special place in my heart over the years.

Troubles, Debit, Credit, Leo, Brutus, Baron, Godzilla, Godzuki, Edwina R Burrow (formerly Edward R Burrow until we discovered he was a she), Chicken Man, Cappuccino, Dan, Mabel, Sebastian, Kirby and Charlotte.

One pet stands out among all of these pets in my life and that pet is Shaman. My Bengal cat.

I was introduced to Shaman by my friend Shirli nearly 15 years ago. She and her friend had a Bengal (domestic cat) breeding program. Let me tell you these cats are amazing. Intelligent and beautiful.

Shirli invited me to meet some of these cats at their cattery (yes, it’s a thing). Their cattery is located in her friends’ home, where she and her husband redesigned an outside deck spanning the length of their home. It was enclosed and individual kennels were set up to separate their breeding pairs of queens and sires away from each other. In addition to the remodeled cattery, they had also turned two of the main downstairs rooms into spaces for their queens to nurse and train their kittens. It was basically a cat palace.

Shirli led me to the cattery, put booties over my shoes, warned me of the smell and walked me into Cat Haven. To the left were two separate kennel areas, where she walked me through to meet some of their older breeders. As she locked the kennel door behind her, I heard this loud and obviously unhappy meow. Shirli turned around and said “In a minute Shaman, we’re visiting Merlin first!” Shaman wasn’t satisfied with that answer and continued his verbal assault the entire time we were with Merlin.

Merlin, by the way, was fantastic. A very large male, with a marbled pattern in black and grey and he possessed the deepest cat voice I’ve ever heard in my life. He truly was the Barry White of the cat world.

After visiting with Merlin, Shirli led me back to the main kennel area and that is when I first met Shaman. A brown, spotted boy approximately one and half years old. He had the sweetest face I’ve ever seen on an animal in my life. He walked right up to me and meowed. Loudly. Demanding my attention. Then jumped up on a counter to the left of me to get a better look and check me out.

Shirli said I could pet him, that he wasn’t the usual Bengal and was very socialized and loved attention. I walked over and he immediately head-butted my hand and indicated he wanted me to pet him. Forever. He purred. He preened. He stretched. He turned from left to right to make sure I pet him from nose to tail.

I’m not going to lie. He was disgusting. As an unaltered, breeding male his fur was beautiful but very oily and oh my good Dog……the smell. Shirli explained male cat urine is the Aqua Velva of the cat world. Male cats would literally pee on the floor (or ground) and then roll in it. I can pretty much guarantee Shaman did this. Probably right before I arrived.

Despite the overpowering smell of Eau de Cat Urine, he made an impression on me. Especially when Shirli told me there were a few more cats in another part of the cattery and started to lead me away. That is when Shaman reached out and batted at my arm. When I turned back to him, he climbed up until he was resting on my left shoulder. Basically hugging me, with his nose in my ear and muttering in some sort of cat language.

Shirli started to laugh, came over and untangled Shaman from my body and put him on the ground. He followed us to the next kennel and once we were inside, he jumped up and hung onto the chicken wire door. Meowing his distress over the fact we weren’t paying attention to him but to the other cats.

Shirli explained Shaman always felt people were there to see him.

To Shaman’s delight, his voice tactic worked like a charm at annoying us and the other cats. We walked back into the main part of the cattery again, where Shaman decided I didn’t do a very good job the first time and demanded my attention once again.

And he got it. By the time I got back upstairs to the main part of the house, I was covered in a combination of cat hair and cat hair oil and Kitty Aqua Velva (cat pee if you weren’t paying attention before).

I went home that night and immediately showered (after being berated by my own cats for cheating on them) but I couldn’t stop thinking about Shaman.

Over the next several years I had several visits to the cattery. When I would have really bad days, I would call up Shirli and say “It’s been a shit day, would you mind if I went out and got a Shaman hug?” The answer was usually yes and the second I had Shaman in my arms and resting on my left shoulder (like a baby), I immediately felt all was right in the world.

In June 2010, my boy Sebastian died from lymphoma and mast cell tumors (apparently common in all white cats). He was a sweetie pie and it was the first time I had to be an adult and make the decision to euthanize one of my pets. I was devastated from the loss and swore up and down, no more pets.

In August of 2010, while visiting a new set of Bengal kittens, Shirli and Sandi informed me Shaman needed a new home. He had been retired from the breeding program and was now neutered. They had a couple all set to adopt him but were no longer in a position to do so. They felt he belonged with me, since we had bonded so well.

I said no. No way. No how. I just lost Sebastian and I still had Mabel. I would have to make another tough decision for her down the line and that was bad enough. No more pets.

Shirli explained they wanted Shaman with someone they knew well, who would care for him and make a good home for him. She reminded me that he was very much bonded to me already and would be a perfect match. I brought up the cost and said there was no way I could afford to buy him from them. They looked at each other and said no problem. We were planning on giving you a discounted rate of $100.

I said I’d think about it. They led me to the upper deck, where Shaman was being transitioned from breeding cat to pet. He walked right over to me and meowed loudly to make sure he had my attention. Then he sat on his brisket and waited for me to pick him up. Which I did.

I took a few more days, but Shaman had already made up his mind. I was his human and he was going to come live with me.

I told Shirli I would adopt him and they set me up with a kennel and instructions and papers. Their instructions? It would take a while for him to get used to living with me and to keep him in the (large) kennel until that happened. I guess no one consulted Shaman on these instructions because the little jerk had other plans.

I brought Shaman home. It had been a long work day for me. It was a near hour long drive from my house to the cattery. And another hour home. I was tired. I was hungry. I had a mouthy cat in the back of my car, in a pet carrier, yodeling all the way home. For. An. Hour.

I got him home, set up the kennel, got him comfortable and ate some dinner. Mabel was less than thrilled with the intruder. They touched noses through the kennel. She hissed. He looked sad. She turned her back. He tried to charm her with flowers and candy. She walked away. He realized he’d have to use booze the next time.

At that point, it was bed time and I was ready to hit the sack. I said goodnight to the new member of my family and walked to my bedroom, with Mabel following in my tracks.

Twenty minutes later.

Meow.

Meeeeeooooooooooowwwwwwwww.

MEEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

MEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWOOOOOOOWWWWWW!!!

All. Night. Long.

I got up several times to calm him down. He would quiet down for a while. I would just fall asleep and it would start again.

Meow.

Meeeeeooooooooooowwwwwwwww.

MEEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

MEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWOOOOOOOWWWWWW!!!

The next morning I had about two hours of sleep and a full day of work ahead.

I didn’t make it. I went home at noon to get some shut eye.

Meow.

Meeeeeooooooooooowwwwwwwww.

MEEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

MEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWOOOOOOOWWWWWW!!!

Fuck it. I ignored the instructions. Opened up the kennel. Grabbed the opera singer and brought him into my room. He walked around the bed, walked around me. Sniffed every inch of me from hair to toes. Sniffed every millimeter of my bed. Then turned in three circles behind my knees and promptly fell asleep.

I took down the kennel that night.

For the next ten years Shaman alternately drove me up a wall, made me laugh, made me happy and made me grateful to have him in my life. He ate any flowers that had the audacity to show up in a vase. He chewed on my plants. He sat on books I was reading. Lay across the laptop. Batted anything he could find across the floor. Stuck his head in my water glasses. Tipped over my water glasses. Strolled across my counters. Hogged my bed during naps. Hid on top of the fridge. Sat in our washbasin in the basement and yodeled at 2am. Stood in front of the cable box , rendering the remote completely useless. Don’t get me started on his endless games of race-car, especially after a meaningful trip to the litter box.

One time, he purposely knocked over a large mirror on our mantle. You know…..just to see what would happen. Or possibly he wanted to know what kind of a noise it would make. Or maybe he didn’t like the mirror.

Sadly, those days came to an end earlier this week. He had been losing a bit of weight for the last several months. The vet on the mainland suspected thyroid issues. I took him to the vet here after we moved to be tested, only for negative results. Concerned, we had a second set of tests run and those were inconclusive as well. I was instructed to keep an eye on him and if he lost any more weight, they would schedule an ultrasound.

The week after his second vet visit, Shaman caught a virus. While it took a week for him to recover from it, once he was feeling better, he was his old self again. Running around and being silly. He started eating again and my husband and I made weekly trips to the pet store to find new foods with which to tempt Shaman. He gained some weight and I breathed a sigh of relief. Things were back to normal.

For a few weeks.

Then he stopped eating again, became more and more finicky. I discovered he liked a certain brand of food and was able to keep his weight up until a week ago. He literally became skin and bones overnight. His eyes lost that sparkle. He slept a lot, but it was fitful sleep telling me he was uncomfortable.

I knew. I knew at this point he was ready and the only thing I could do was let him go. I sat my husband down and tearfully told him Shaman was ready to go onto his next life.

We called the vet and scheduled an appointment. My husband and I drove our sweet boy to the office and we held him while they administered the drug that would stop his heart. He went quickly and peacefully.

While some reading may believe this was just an ordinary cat, I can only tell you he was not. He made the world a brighter place for everyone he met and I will think of him every day for the rest of my life.

No one ever owns a cat…you share a common habitation on a basis of equal rights and mutual respects…although somehow the cat always comes out ahead of the deal.
― Lilian Jackson Braun

P1000099

The wait is over. Tests came back negative.

I don’t have breast cancer. I am beyond grateful. I’ve seen what cancer has done to my loved ones. I honestly don’t know if I could have been as brave and strong facing something so terrifying.

I have to admit, this experience scared the ever loving shit out of me, and got me thinking about a lot of decisions I’ve made. Good and bad. Let me tell you something about my life of the last eight years. It hasn’t been all that great. It hasn’t been horrible but there are a lot of decisions where I’d like to request a do-over.

But the decision I’m going to tell you about tonight isn’t one of those moments I want to do-over.

I met my husband in the early part of 2006. Online of all places. A good friend of mine thought it was time for me to put myself out there. I didn’t feel it was that great of an idea, anonymous dating. No one had any idea if I was a lying, homicidal psychopath or a normal person (but they contacted me regardless, fools). I wasn’t really looking for a relationship.  Nonetheless, I gave the online dating thing a try. Boy did is suck ass. Well, with the exception of my husband.

As I said I met my husband online. The timing was a bit off as another man had contacted me about the same time. A widower who had some…..well let’s just say some issues that I can blog about another time. Regardless, he had contacted me first, so I met up with him first and the limited exposure with him left me thinking I’ve had enough of men and their issues.

However, despite my feeling I should become the official cat woman on my street, the man that eventually became my husband had something that made me go back and continue responding to his emails. He was honest (in his emails) about his life situation (unlike the widower, more on that later) and seemed like the genuine article. After a long and agonizing internal debate, I agreed to meet him for coffee. But he was going to be my last date. Not a joke. After this guy, I was done with dating.

Day of the coffee date, I had a good friend call me with a drama filled need (even today I consider her my drama puppet). I contacted my future husband and explained I had a friend with an emergency and could we reschedule? He said, Look. If you don’t want to go out with me just say so. I was taken aback by his attitude (a bit on the snarly side), but decided to not rip his head off. Instead I reined in my inner bitch and said Let’s reschedule right now. I do want to meet you but I honestly have a friend in need and she (and not the strange man I met online) is my priority.

Side note….he met this friend later on and realized she is a bit nuts and could understand  why I rescheduled. Now back to my story.

We met a few days later in front of a Starbucks after work one evening (shocker…Starbucks happens when you live in the Pacific Northwest). When I walked up and introduced myself, he looked like he’d been hit with a frozen halibut. I asked him what was wrong and he said You look like your profile picture.

Side note – here is where I was told once again, most women post pictures of themselves that are 10 or 20 years old. Apparently I was one of the rare women that actually look like my picture. Ladies? A tip regarding online dating? Have the integrity to post a recent picture of yourself. Especially if you plan on meeting the guy in person. Once again, back to my how we met story.

We hugged and started heading for coffee when he looked at me and asked “Are you by any chance hungry? Would you mind getting something to eat instead? I came here from the gym and I’m starved.” Little did he know I suffered from Grave’s Disease and I was always hungry. Foolish man. I told him that I just finished at the gym as well and I would love something to eat. Please note I was pulling a Monty Burns, finger-tip drumming, excellent move inside my head.

Next door to Starbucks was this little restaurant. They had room in the bar for us and we were seated right away. The server handed us the menus and said she’d be back with waters. My future husband (FH for short) looked at me and asked if I wanted some wine. I said I’d love some. He asked if I would pick it out, because he doesn’t know much about wines. I smiled and responded with Sure but my knowledge is limited and I mostly like red wines. FH told me that would be fine with him, then asked why I preferred reds over whites (wine racist). I explained I liked both but reds are my favorite due to how I was raised and what my family liked.

FH looked at me and asked How you were raised? I explained my family made a lot of their own wine, reds, and that I usually leaned towards those strong flavors. FH asked then about my ethnicity, because I’m sure my looks were confusing to him (at the time my hair was red and I looked like I should be slugging back barrels of Guinness, not drinking Merlot). I said my family is from…..(later he would tell me he was expecting me to say France, Germany, Scotland,  Ireland, anything but what came out of my mouth)…..Portugal. Well not really Portugal but a little island called Madeira.

FH looked completely astonished, as though I just told him I also liked to make out with junkies with open mouth sores. He started beating his own chest and declared Portuguese? You’re Portuguese??? I’m Portuguese!! I was born in the Azores!!!

At this point I realized I had been stalked by a psychopath and needed to remove myself from the restaurant tout de suite. I lived in Portland, OR. No one and I mean no one in all the years I lived here knew where Portugal was (isn’t Portugal like, a suburb of Russia??), let alone knows anything about the islands. I started looking around for the nearest exit and a weapon. Though not in that exact order.

However, FH was excited and talking a mile a minute (I would eventually find out he does this 18 hours a day. The rest of the time he’s asleep. Imagine my astonishment when I found out he doesn’t talk in his sleep as well.). He didn’t even notice my distress about being stalked and declared any red wine was fine with him and he noticed there was stuffed calamari on the menu. Did I like calamari? Of course I did! I was Portuguese! All Portuguese love seafood!

At this point I had calmed down enough to realize he wasn’t a stalker. He started waxing nostalgic about all things Portuguese. Portuguese festivals, Linguiça , morcela (blood sausage), Bacalhau (salt cod), acorda and several other items with which I was very familiar. FH was the real Portuguese deal.

After determining I would not have to peel him off of my front window in the days following, I ordered a nice red wine for us and we chose three appetizers to share (yes one of them was the stuffed calamari). We found out we had been raised nearly the same way. Though he was born in the Azores, my father was born here the states to Portuguese immigrants. My mother’s side of the family is from Holland (grandfather) and the Midwest (grandmother).  However I spent a lot of time with my paternal grandparents, which caused me to identify more with the Portuguese side of my roots.

During the course of the evening we opened up a little more than we did in our emails to each other. I had a nutty ex-husband. He had a nutty ex-wife, however unlike me he was still in contact due to his pre-teen daughter. I had no kids. We both had cats. We had both been divorced for several years (me 14, FH about 9). We both also had lots of extended family, had a contest to see whose family was crazier and discovered we both felt the same way about food and travel.

Note – sadly I would only find out about his aversion to anything related to the Beatles and Science Fiction after the nuptials. And don’t even get me started on the reading thing. I was completely duped. Duped!!!

I think what amazed us both was though we had a lot in common; we had a lot we didn’t agree on but in a good way. One of the things that drive me nuts is being with someone who feels you must be joined at the hip and agree on all things. Talk about annoying and things that make me stabby.

Mostly I found out he was an intelligent, sweet guy with a great smile and was extremely loyal to those he loved best. He was a gentleman (to this day he still opens doors for me (including car doors), walks on the outside, carries everything when we’re shopping and cleans the litter box), he cared about what I had to say and respected my opinion. Even when it differed from his own. Plus bonus points for the fact he resembled a thinner version of John Candy in Uncle Buck.

As I said, tonight I’m not going to reflect on a bad decision but one of my good ones. Which was not getting my knickers in a twist when he thought I was trying to avoid him (normally any man giving me shit because I was choosing to help a friend rather than go on a date would have become chum). Instead I kept my cool and insisted we reschedule our coffee date.

Which turned out to be the best first date I’ve ever had and ironically he did turn out to be the last one.

three doors

On another note……

Let’s discuss neighbors for a minute.

Or more to the point….the rude ones.

I do my best to be a good neighbor. No loud noise between 10pm and 8am. I take out my trash. I keep my apartment clean. Music down. TV down. You know, the common sense stuff so I can get along with my neighbors.

Jackass neighbors #1. Apparently the Sasquatch couple who own a herd of buffalo (okay a few cats) live above me. At first they seemed nice. We met in the laundry room and I commented that I hoped my cat wasn’t bothering them with his yodeling (yes…he freaking yodels). Female Sasquatch said nope, never heard him. They asked if I heard their cats, and I said only when they’re playing race car. They asked in unison, race car? I said, you know…when our cats go all freaky and run around the house for no apparent reason. Mine do it too.

Sasquatch couple said “You can hear that?” I said well yeah. It’s an old building with no soundproofing, so of course I’m going to hear them running around. Sasquatch couple looked at each other and said, that’s really embarrassing. I commented again it’s an old building and totally understandable.

You’re probably wondering why I call them the Sasquatch couple. Is it because they’re tall and hairy? Nope. Is it because they appear to have been raised by wolves? No, you’d be wrong again. Give up?

I call them the Sasquatch couple because THEY FREAKING STOMP ALL OVER THEIR FUCKING APARTMENT!!!

Ahem.

I have never in all the years of apartment living experienced anything like this stomping around. My husband thought I was exaggerating until he was here for his daughter’s graduation. He could not believe his ears. They even have outdone the 2am hammerers that lived above me several years ago. And by hammerers, I literally mean hammering and not having wall and floor banging loud sex. To this day I have no idea what they were hammering on for nearly a week before I called the manager and complained. Seriously I gave them a week because I thought they had just moved in and were rearranging furniture. Turns out, they just liked to hammer. AT 2 FUCKING O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING!!!

Ahem.

Regardless, Mr. and Mrs. Sasquatch made it into my jackass neighbors category because they also stomp around from about midnight to 3am. And then get up around 5:30am every, fricking day. WHY IN THE FUCK ARE YOU STOMPING AROUND? ARE YOU ANGRY? THEN GET SOME FUCKING THERAPY!!!!

Ahem.

Jackass neighbor #2 just recently appeared. And by recently I mean this very evening. We’ve been having some warm temperatures. Windows are open to air out the apartment (I cannot wait to get back into a house again by they way). This evening  I smelled something funny and walked over to my windows to check. That was when my lungs seized up and I realized the funny smell was cigarette smoke. Smoke that was now inside my apartment.

I have asthma and cigarette smoke does not like me at all. Otherwise I don’t give two shits if you smoke. You want to die of cancer, please smoke away. Though I suggest you just cut out the middle men of doctors, oncologists, chemotherapy and eventual horrible death and just throw yourself in front of a train. If you’re going to kill yourself, via cigarette smoking, why drag it out? Be a man and end it quick.

But I digress.

I walked over there and told the two “ladies” smoking outside that I have asthma and their smoke was coming into my apartment. Was there any way they could smoke away from the building. Neither one of them responded to me. So I again said, I’m very sorry to bother you but I have a ton of smoke in my apartment and I have health issues, would you mind stepping further away from the building? The older “lady” turned to me and said Sure, when I go back to Arizona. The younger “lady” just looked at me with her mouth open (mouth breather is NOT a good look by the way). I turned to the older “lady” and said, Why thank you, you’re a real fucking bitch now aren’t you?

I wasn’t rude (until the end), I asked nicely and even apologized for disturbing them. I don’t expect them to change their lives, I had a valid reason for my request and all I wanted was a little common courtesy. So yes, she was a fucking bitch.

Deep, cleansing breath. Or there would be one if THAT FUCKING BITCH WASN’T SMOKING OUTSIDE MY APARTMENT RIGHT NOW!!!

Ahem.

Anyway, all kidding aside. Don’t be an asshole neighbor. If someone is going out of their way to ask you a favor, and is being nice about it, hear them out. Be nice back to them. It takes so little effort and will make for better living conditions.

jerks

 

 

 

 

 

The waiting game.

Before I left my job, I made sure to take care of a few important appointments. One being my annual mammogram. I’ve been getting them since I was 35 for two reasons. Family history of breast cancer and I have dense breasts.

And that doesn’t mean they’re not very bright. It means my breast tissue has less fat and feels firmer than most breasts. Awesome in one way, as they are still managing to defy gravity. Crappy in another sense, as I will not be able to feel lumps and mammograms can be an ordeal.

Like this last one.

I go in for my mammogram. New technology. Awesome (in a can’t wait for you to squish my breasts flat as a pancake with your new toy kind of way). They can see more of the breast now and get a better image. After posing for several thousand images, I was paroled and let go. It looked like someone had ironed creases in my breasts.

Three days later, I was at work training someone on one of the reports I run, when my cell phone rang. I looked down and saw it was the hospital number. I ignore it, assuming they were calling about my results. Not two minutes later, my phone rang again. This time it was my doctors office, and I was seized by gut-wrenching panic. I was so scared and I didn’t want to get emotional in front of a co-worker, so I pretended all was well and threw my phone into my purse. With a little more force than I intended.

She however noticed I was agitated and asked me what’s wrong. When I explained, she said listen to your voice-mails and do what you need to do. I walked into an empty conference room and called them both back. They found a spot on my left breast that needs to be looked at again.

Gulp.

I scheduled another mammogram appointment for a few days later. However, when they call my name and walk me back, instead of being led into the usual changing rooms, I was taken to my own personal changing suite. Warning bell #1.

They lead me into a different radiology room than the last time and take a series of pictures of my left breast in various poses. Though I noticed this time around, they are more soft spoken and are treating me more like a patient than a once a year visitor. Warning bell #2.

Once again I’m sent back to my private suite, where I try and relax and stay calm. I sit with my feet up on a cushion, reading my book. I’m quite comfy. A cup of herbal tea would have completed the picture. Then the door opened up and Dr. Blanchard (radiologist) walks in but doesn’t smile.

I burst into tears.

Poor thing didn’t even get a word out before I started crying.  I didn’t realize how scared I was until that moment. She was very nice, handing me tissues and calming me down. She explained I have to come back for a biopsy on my left breast. They found some calcifications that weren’t there on my last visit, a bit concentrated and they want to test them.  She explained my screening today fell into a no-man’s land where they can’t tell if they are benign or malignant.

Once she explained the procedure and I got all of my questions out of the way, she sent in a nurse to schedule the procedure. I started crying again, they must be used to this because the nurse also calmed me down by asking me questions to get my mind off of the traitor Lefty.

Once I was calm, she scheduled my appointment and I left the hospital to go back to work. I was numb and scared of what my future may hold for me. I called my husband, who immediately asked if he needed to fly over to be with me. I asked him if I could sleep on it and let him know. He assured me he could be here the day before but we could talk about it that evening.

I got a hold of my good friend and told her what happened. She explained her sister has had this done twice and both times she was okay. She said I shouldn’t worry and asked if I needed to drink a bunch of wine with her (I love this friend oh so much). I said, let’s wait for the biopsy results where we can either celebrate or commiserate.

Her attitude though calmed me the most and when I spoke to my husband later that evening , I relayed what she said to me about her sister and we decided to hold off on him flying over unless I received bad news. Then he can be here to comfort me and help me with treatment options.

Yesterday was my biopsy. All in all, it was not completely unpleasant, but also not a day on a sunny Hawaiian beach either. They had me take some more pictures so they could mark the sight. Afterward the photo shoot, they led me to another room and had me lay face down on a bed with a hole in the middle of it ( I think you get the idea what goes through that hole).

After laying on the table the severity of this situation hit me, and I started crying. The nurse noticed, brought me some tissues and started asking me questions to get my mind off of what was happening. She was an angel.

They placed my breast in another mammogram like machine and take some more pictures (The trick to this whole procedure? No matter what, lay perfectly still). The doctor then administered a local anesthetic to numb the breast. Took another picture to recheck the correct sight and stuck a 9-gauge vacuum biopsy needle to remove the tissue and calcification from the biopsy sight.

After checking to make sure they had a good sample, they injected a titanium marker so when I have future mammograms, they will be able to tell that area was biopsied. After cleaning and patching me up, they asked if I wanted a massage. Oh hell yes I did.

I have to wait until Friday for the results. I’m not going to lie. I’m scared shitless I may have the big C. Though I have amazing friends around me, I have no family close by and my husband is currently living/working in Hawaii. This is quite the scary prospect to face on your own.

But face it I will, because that is what I do. I don’t hide under the covers. I face things because what else can I do?

You know….besides crawling beneath my kitchen table, nursing a bottle of wine.

FYI – if you’re over 35, go get your freaking mammogram. Yesterday.

 

mammogram

How did I get here?

You’d think at the age of 47, I would have it all figured out my now.

I’m working on it now though. I have to. I quit my job and I’m starting a new chapter in my life. I spent over 15 years in a high stress career, at which I was very good, but ultimately brought me little happiness or satisfaction.

When I thought about my life back at 18, I wanted to be a writer, a musician, an artist and a dancer. All creative outlets, right? What happened? How did I end up in accounting and credit and not chasing my dreams?

Bad choices. Really bad choices. And fear and laziness.

I married at 19 to the wrong person (stupid, stupid, dumb, dumb….remind me to talk to you all about getting married before 30). I was literally walking down the aisle knowing I was making a mistake. When I look back, I wish I had the guts to turn around and say “I don’t”. Six years, no kids (my choice), a shit ton of debt (thank you ex-husband for not working) and a divorce later, I was in desperate need of a good paying job.

I moved into a career where I could use some of the college courses I had under my belt. Accounting, finance, bookkeeping; whatever you want to call it. I needed money and I was too afraid to do anything else. One job led into another job. I gained knowledge and experience.

I would think about going back to school, attend Literature classes again, following my dreams. I read anything I could get my hands on and loved to discuss the books I read. I would put pen to paper and write short stories. Then I would put aside my thoughts and dreams and go to work. Too scared to look into changing my life…..too lazy to take those first steps.

Today I am remarried; still no kids, a grown step-daughter, a few cats and I recently left my job of 8 years with a company that’s only been around for 11 years. My husband accepted a position for another company and is living in another state.

So where does that leave me?

It leaves me starting over again. Reinventing myself. Sucking up my insecurities and chasing my dreams. Someone asked me why now and I responded with “Because I better chase my dreams now, while my legs still work.”

Thoughts on how I've made it this far without hurting myself