fall

It’s a beautiful Fall-ish morning here in Arkansas.  Birds are singing.  The temperature is a little cooler. Even if the trees are still forest green, the calendar says Autumn has arrived. For the last three months or so the thermometer has read “hot” or it’s going to be “freaking hot” today by 9 am.  I’ll take this little reprieve from the heat this morning and enjoy it.

So my dear friends, what do you enjoy in Autumn?  The following is a short list of  little pleasures I plan on enjoying during the coming month.

  • You probably guess this one already… cooler temperatures.  Yay!  I’ve heard all my life, “If the heat doesn’t get you the humidity will.”  Although this Summer wasn’t a scorcher as in years past, it was bloody well hot enough to make this girl appreciate air conditioning, and living in a modern age.1c44ec573cf32b667c07692f6fe40770
  • Football.  Even though the Sooners aren’t looking so great this season, it’s early yet and I love my team.  Norman seems so far away but, every Saturday when OU is playing at home, I remember and appreciate the long-held traditions associated with Oklahoma Football.  Can I get a Boomer Sooner? (I know my Mom will give me one.)

 

  • Halloween.  This is one of my favorite pleasures in life. The kids and I love Halloween.  It is my favorite holiday. C&E will have the house spooked out in no time.  In the past, there have been many a Halloween hayride and bonfire at the farm. These days we are doing things on a smaller scale, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy the festivities.

 

  • Pumpkin Pie Spice (PPS), well everything.  There’s latte’s, creamer, cookies and so much more to enjoy.  I hear there is even pumpkin pie to be had.  Ok, that was a lame joke, haha. I discovered the perfect PPS latte recipe using the Starbucks App.  I order on my phone for pick up a grande PPS latte with two pumps of flavor, light whip, coconut milk with two shots of espresso, hot.  It is divine.  Since I’m ordering it to go via the app, I can walk into the store, go right to the front of the line, ask for Holly’s order and right back out with my drink in hand.  Sweet.

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  • Leaves will start turning beautiful shades of yellow gold, orange and browns soon.  The display God puts on through them is stunning and is something I enjoy every year.

Fall is such a wonderful time of the year.  My hope is this small list of 5  will inspire you to get out and enjoy the season as much as possible.

Pansies, PPS Latte’,and Carmel Apples,

holly

the girls are gone…

The surgery is over. I’m home recuperating.  I said goodbye to my breasts on Wednesday. That is something no woman should ever have to do.

When I was a little girl, I didn’t give them a thought.  From the waist up I looked just like my brothers.  Things began to change for most girls, and I remember one day, while changing for athletics, a girl who was in need of a bra already proudly announcing next year we will all have to wear bras.  I didn’t exactly need a bra, but I began wearing one in fifth grade anyway.  I had no breasts.  At least the bra was slightly padded.  I suppose that could have been considered my first push up.

 

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about 5th grade

 

By the time high school rolled around I still was flat chested.  This was a source of frustration for me.  I joked that my people came from the high plains.  I consoled by self with the thought, at least I have a bootie and long legs.  Trust when I say I didn’t dwell on flat-chestedness much.  I wore my A cups proudly.  In college, I fell in love with my kids Dad and I remember feeling so beautiful on our wedding day.  Boobs or no boobs.

 

 

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fat girl boobs

 

You know the purpose of our breast is to feed our young.  Every other person has a set and honestly, there are men with breast as well.  The frustration I once felt over being small chested dissipated when I gave birth to my first child.  Overnight it seemed I went from the high plains to a D cup.  One of the best experiences of my life was being able to breast feed my children.  It was the one thing I could do for them that no one else could.  I cherish the memories of cradling my babes close to me while they nursed.  I made it fourteen months breastfeeding with each of my kids.  My breast had served a much greater purpose than filling out a bikini top.

I held on to some of the baby weight after my second child and as a result, I kept some breast tissue too.  At my heaviest weight, I wore a D cup.  Finally… I had cleavage.  I had a big butt and belly too.  I suppose you could say I was proportionate.  Butt, boobs, and belly. In 2014 I had gastric sleeve surgery to better my health.  Of course, I lost a lot of weight, 90 pounds.  I feel great. I went from a D to a C cup.  No biggie, I finally liked my breast. We I thought had finally made peace with each other.  Not too big, not to small and still kinda perky even after children.  Well done ladies.Then came the mammograms, biopsy, and diagnosis. My girls had betrayed me.  Damn it. Not cool trying to kill me, I mean come on.  So now after several years of an up and down relationship had to part ways.  Breasts, I had a party in your honor with some of my girlfriends there to wish you goodbye.  It was a good send off.

 

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gratuitous boob shot

 

I took the bandages away yesterday and saw my chest for the first time last night as I emptied the drains coming out from under my arms.  I cried. It looks like someone else’s body, not mine. Don’t get me, wrong dear friends,  I know how lucky I am.  I thank God for an excellent pathology report.  My surgeon got it all.  I don’t have to do chemo or radiation.  A true blessing.  I’m alive.  Another blessing.  I’ll get fake boobs (foobs).  The thing is I’ll never be the same.  The scars will always be there.  What can I do but go on? It’s not a matter of being strong.  Sometimes we just aren’t given a choice.  I have things to do.  Breast cancer isn’t on my list.  Well, after Wednesday, it really isn’t on my list.

 

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Evening after mastectomies. 

 

Time to recover.

Daisies, Coffee, and Chocolate,

holly

getting ready…

This past week went by quickly, but it also drug by.  I know it doesn’t make sense to me either.  There’s something about the waiting.  You should see my checklist of things I’ve done and of things still to do.  I’m less than a week out from surgery, and I’ve been trying to simplify things as much as possible for me and to help my temporary caregivers out.  Here are a few things I’ve done to prepare for the mastectomies, recovery, and why.

  1. I went to the resale shop and picked up a couple of loose button up men’s shirts.  Pullovers will be difficult to manage since I won’t be able to lift my arms much during the initial recovery.  I went with XL shirts to accommodate the bulk of the bandages.  Heck, I went with Oxford blue and pinstriped shirts to keep things classic. I’ll throw on some leggings and be good to go.
  2. Warm fuzzy socks, check.  Hospitals are cold.
  3. A friend gave me her Boppy pillow.  It’s a breastfeeding pillow.  I’ll be using it to rest my arms on while on the couch or propped up in bed.
  4. Since I’ll be sleeping on my back and not on my side, I ordered a pillow wedge.  I understand there is a lot of pressure on your chest.  Using a wedge should help.
  5. All beauty appointments have been taken care of.  No since having roots showing and my toes always must look nice.  I did ditch the color on my fingers, though.  A pulse oximeter has difficulty getting a read when nail polish is present. I got my legs waxed since it will be difficult to shave.
  6. I purchased a wand shower head to make things easier in the bath.  I need to get in installed.
  7. My house is clean, well it’s beyond clean.  Laundry is done but not put up.  Any volunteers to help me fold?
  8. My personal affairs have been put in order. It was different when I was married.  My husband would still be around if I died, but now I’m not taking chances.  No, I don’t think I’m going to die anytime soon.  I do feel better knowing it’s taken care of, though.
  9. The last thing I did was have a Boob Voyage party with my girlfriends on Friday evening.  It was a good night.  I needed some fun. It was a lively dinner with good friends and lots of laughter.

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Have you ever been afraid you forgot something big and major when there’s a big event coming up?  That’s where I’m at right now.  Did I forget something with FMLA? To pay a bill? The list is endless in my mind.  If I had a thought bubble over my head it would contain a big check mark right now or the emoji face that looks disturbingly constipated.  Let’s end on that high note.  You can figure out which emoji I mean. Until next time…

Daisies, coffee, and chocolates,

holly

random at 0400…

Oh, the mind is a slippery slope at 0400, especially as I wait for June 1st to get here.  There are so many questions I have right now.  The main one being, “why?”.  The rest are muddled together after it.  My dreams are of cancer choking me.  I mean seriously black stuff comes out of my breast and wraps itself around my neck choking the life out of me.  It’s hard to sleep after you wake up from a dream like that.  The thing is, I’m not sick.  I don’t look like I have cancer.  I didn’t find a lump and seek out a doctor’s help.  I had an inconclusive mammogram followed by an abnormal one that was being done to get better views.  Then, of course, came the biopsy and results.  I know how fortunate I am that this was found early.  I thank God for early detection.  I thank him for my family’s support and my friends too.  I thank him for Liz, my dear Lizard, giving up sleep and her time to go with me to appointments, to be my second set of ears in case I miss something the doc says. I’m so grateful for her honest input on my treatment options. My mantra where cancer is concerned is, go aggressive or go home.

 

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my friend and advisor Liz

 

I am so thankful for the two weeks my older brother spent with me. We were not on the best of terms before his visit.  In fact, he was coming to see us but primarily to visit my parents.  They both came down with the honest to goodness flu and were pretty much out of commission for the first week of Erik’s visit.  Because of this Erik and Connor ended up staying with me. I was reading the China Study, a book on diet and diseases, before my brother’s arrival.  Erik had recommended it to me months ago because of my protein focused diet.  Anyway, I have made some changes to my diet, and because big bro already eats vegan, he spent time with me shopping and cooking.  It was much needed time, and it reminded me how much I love my brother.  He left on Monday, and I miss him already.  Butthead, just like him to pull a fast one and make his sister care. (lol)

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During this time of waiting life has continued around me as normal.  The world didn’t stop because I got cancer. (insert nervous laugh) I look around me with the same eyes, but I am seeing things a little more in focus.  I hear this about people with life changing events all the time.  I’ve had plenty of those in the last couple years, and I have made changes, and I feel like I’ve grown spiritually because of them.  Now, however, I’m seeing there isn’t always going to be time for everything.  No, I don’t think I’m going to die on the operating room table.  Please, as if. I think what I’m saying is this…if something in my life needs addressing, then I’d better see to it.  There’s no guarantee on getting a second or third chance.  Life isn’t about “do-overs”.  I don’t believe in reincarnation.  I believe in heaven, but it is so wonderful it’s hard to comprehend.  So for now, I’m making the life I have on Earth count. It’s what I know, so it’s what I’m working with.

At times, I am eat up with fear.  The “what if’s” get me.

I’m realizing the boy I’ve been seeing may not be the one for me.  He doesn’t have time for me or cancer.  That’s ok. He didn’t sign up for this.

I have a friend who just had surgery for cancer.  He and I have been friends since ninth grade.  I love him so.  He’s my third brother.  His words of frustration and encouragement at both of our current predicaments goes beyond what anyone else can say at this moment.  Our talks and visits are too brief but as anyone who knows me knows I can talk forever if on a subject I’m passionate about. John, I drug you into my blog.  I hope that is ok.

Tomorrow evening I’m have dinner with some of my girlfriends.  It’s a Boob Voyage party. No, I don’t feel like celebrating, but I do feel alive, and I want to spend some time with my friends before being confined for a while.  I’d planned to spend some time with my guy too, but he signed up to work this weekend.  I’m not getting my fun at the lake this year which sucks.  I’ll take some girl time and appreciate it, though.  This is a period in my life.  It’s not my whole life.  As long as I can find something to be grateful for everyday I’ll be ok.

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Daisies, coffee and, chocolate,

holly

words that start with the letter c…

“I’ve been considering words that start with the letter M,” said the Mad Hatter.  Today, I’ve been considering a word that starts with the letter C.  Cancer.  Specifically breast cancer.

Here are a few tidbits for you to digest.

  • One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
  • This year 230,000 women will be diagnosed and 40,000 will die from breast cancer.
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.

Risk factors include family history, smoking, gender, and ethnicity.  I’m female and I’m white.  I didn’t know this but white women have a slightly higher risk for developing breast cancer.  There’s no family history of breast cancer in my family and I don’t smoke so mark them off the list.  I’m over forty but according to the reading I’ve been doing risk increases when you are over fifty-five.

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Here’s the scoop.  I am one of these women who has always gotten my yearly exams.  I get an annual check up with my family practitioner.  I go to my ob/gyn every year.  I got my baseline mammogram at 37 as recommended.  Since I turned forty I’ve gotten a yearly mammogram.  The only thing I’ve ever been told is I have dense breast and it makes reading the x-rays difficult. Not a big thing right?  A little over two weeks ago I went for my annual boob squeezing.  No problems.  No lumps or concerns.  Well, I was concerned about one thing, getting done quickly so I would make it to Zumba on time. (I made it, barely.) The following week incidentally while on my way to Zumba I got the call from my doctor’s office.  The nurse told me there were microcalcification clusters present in both breast and additional images were needed.  I freaked a little.  I went and saw my mom.  I had a week and a half to wait for the diagnostic views to be taken.  While I waited I spoke with friends and found out a lot of women have to have additional imaging of their breasts for various reasons.  It’s pretty common.  I calmed down.

Today was repeat mammo day.  I went in and after numerous attempts, the tech managed to get the pics the radiologist wanted.  It took forever, ok maybe an hour.  He wanted to talk to me.  Not a good sign I thought.  I went in, and on a large computer screen in the dark office, saw what the fuss is about.  On the blown up image there was a cluster of specks.  Tiny specks.  The radiologist explained that it may be nothing but it could be early breast cancer and it would be really recommended to check them out with a biopsy and MRI.  The main reason being this: they weren’t there on last year’s films.  Now I’m scheduled for the breast biopsy in the morning.

Most likely scenario. the biopsy will be benign.  That’s what I’m praying for although I know whatever these microcalcifications are, is already present in there.  God’s grace enter now, please.

This isn’t my usual blog post.  I’ve only been writing scholarly papers for the last two months.  They are quite boring for the most part.  I’m mentally exhausted and the thoughtfulness that writing brings out in me isn’t there tonight.  Please, dear readers, send prayers and chants.

Daisies, coffee and chocolate,

holly