Saturday, December 29

"Open Surgical Biopsy"

"Open Surgical Biopsy" was not the answer I was hoping for.
I wanted to hear something like, "It is nothing... you are fine... go home and take good care of yourself."
I would have even settled for, "We need to do a needle biopsy, just to be safe."
But no... I was told "open surgical biopsy."

As you may recall, I recently had a routine 40 year-old mammogram.  The radiologist was concerned about an area of irregular tissue patterns in my left breast.  I was asked to come back for further evaluation.  Sure enough further imaging confirmed her suspicions. I seem to have a (non-tumor) radial scar or lesion on the medial part of my left breast. 

The good news is that these things are often benign, but the bad news is the recommendion to remove the entire area.
Removed with surgery.
Removed with a large incision.
If you have not noticed, I have small breasts. 
I'm concerned that this surgery will permanently scar and alter my breast.
Of course there is also that lingering detail... what if it is cancer?

Clearly, I will need to learn a lot more over the next few weeks. 
I'm remaining hopeful that we can get a second opinion and find a less invasive procedure.

I'm trying to stay brave and put on a happy face for my husband and son.
Inside I am feeling very scared and alone.  I know that there is no point worrying until I have something to worry about, but how can you help but to worry?

Tuesday, December 25

Merry Christmas!

Grandma Patty came to celebrate Christmas with us this year. She arrived yesterday from New Jersey and will spend two weeks with us. She will housesit for our friends until the 30th. Last night she spent the night with us so we could all be together on Christmas morning.  Here is Henry and Grandma racing down the stairs to see if Santa really came.  Sure enough he did...
Henry was thrilled his gifts from Santa - Playmobil airplane and airport. We are currently watching the snow fall. We can't believe that it is a white Christmas after all!
Wishing you much love, peace and happiness in the coming year.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23

Oh the weather outside is frightful!!

With the exception of last year's January snow storm, Our son has never played in the snow. Many of our friends take their kids to Mount Hood for sledding and snow fun.  This morning we learned that our friends were going up to Mount Hood for a snow outing and we spontaneously decided to join them.  We quickly ate some breakfast and packed up our gear. We left the house at 9:30 and started our 2 hour journey to the mountain.  It was raining lightly when we left. I had quickly glanced at the weather for Timberline and it said overcast and 29 degrees.  We thought perfect.  We will try it.
As we drove, the rain increased.  It was pouring!  We continued to drive and eagerly anticipated reaching the snow line.  Unfortunately, the snow never started.  It was 38 degrees at Timberline.  It was pouring and the wind was unbelievable!! 
We barely made it from the parking lot to the lodge.  The wind was so intense.  We met up with our friends briefly, but didn't dare to venture outside. Here is Henry racing to the car.
It was a long day of driving.  Our son didn't nap.  It was not the day we had hoped for, but I am sure we will try it again!

Lots & Lots o' COOKIES!!!

Yesterday was our annual holiday cookie exchange.  Six of us, from the library, got together to share some of our favorite holiday cookies.
I made my mother's jam thumbprints.  I think she got the recipe from her high school friend.
We have been making them as long as I can remember.  I also hope to make my traditional Mustica family Italian cookies before the year is over.
Other made:
Almond Sugar Cookies
Egg Nog Nutmeg Logs
Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles
Peanut Butter Chocolate Kisses
Gingerbread Christmas Trees

Wednesday, December 19

Live Life to the Fullest

I have always liked the expression, "Live Life to the Fullest." I have pretty much incorporated it as my personal mantra. 

Yesterday, I received a very frightening phone call for the radiology department at OHSU. My routine 40-year old mammogram has some irregularities and I will need to go in for further evaluation. Sure... it is probably nothing, but you can't help but to think, 'Shit... is this it? Is this what it comes down to?  Is this when your luck changes and have to enter a much more difficult chapter of your life?"  You never know when your life is going to change. 
Take time to be grateful.  Take time to enjoy  the things that are good in your life.
If your life is not so good, know that life changes quickly - often for the better.
If your life is charmed, don't take it for granted.

As for me, I'll be fine (hopefully).  I'll go back next week for further testing and hopefully I will get more time to be grateful and live life to the fullest!

Sunday, December 16

It's the Holiday Season...

It's the holiday season
With the whoop-de-do and hickory dock
And don't forget to hang up your sock....
I don't know about you, but I can't seem to get enough of 103.3 these days - the 24/7 Christmas music radio station. My son and I have really been enjoying Christmas music. We get these silly songs in our heads and sing them throughout the day.
For we need a little Christmas, right this very minute
Candles in the window, Carols at the Spinet,
Yes we need a little Christmas, right this very minute,
We need a little Christmas now!
So our humble, mostly Jewish home has become a festive Christmas-loving bonanza. We are out of control and having a lot of fun with it.

Wreaths are hung, garland decorates our front porch and stairway, we even ventured to the Christmas tree farm today. Henry got to cut down and decorate his first Christmas tree.
He told the babysitter tonight, "Isn't it beautiful?". We hosted our first holiday gathering last night. About 25 parents and teachers from our son's school joined us for Cosmopolitans and Sparkling wine. Next week my mom will visit. On Christmas Eve we will host a celebration family and friends. Who says it needs to be stressful!? Just tune in and sing along...
City sidewalk, busy sidewalks,
dressed in holiday style.
In the air there's a feeling of Christmas.

Children laughing, people passing,
meeting smile after smile,
and on every street corner you'll hear:

Silver bells, silver bells,
It's Christmas time in the city.
Ring-a-ling, hear them ring,
Soon it will be Christmas day!

Thursday, December 13

Fused Glass

I took this really fun fused glass class with the moms and teachers from my sons preschool before my trip to Mexico.  I made these ornaments! Jennifer Wells Studio is located on NE Alberta in Portland. What a fun evening!

You can join me for another class... I have scheduled a private class on Friday, January 4, when my mom is visiting from NJ.  It would be great if you could join us.  You can make jewelry or ornaments for $40 or a plate or platter for $60.  The class will be from 6 PM to 8 PM.
Please e-mail me or comment if you want to join us!

Wednesday, December 5

San Miguel de Allende - Day 4

The weather has been perfect. It is sunny and pleasant.
The house is quite lovely and comfortable.
My travel companions are easy-going.
We have all remained healthy.
We have been walking all over and exploring this interesting town.
The town is odd because there are so many American expats and so few Mexicans.
Yesterday, we took a fabulous cooking class. Our instructor, Paco, led us on a tour of the market. We tasted all sorts of interesting things. Later we returned to the beautiful cooking school and Paco prepared a delicious lunch. Tomorrow we have scheduled manicures and pedicures. It would be a perfect vacation if I didn´t miss my family so much.
Click here to see the photos that I uploaded today.

Sunday, December 2

San Miguel De Allende - Day 1

I made it...
Out trip had a bittersweet start when our fifth travel companion was unable to join us on the trip (We miss you Sarah!). The flight from Portland to Mexico City was very smooth and went by surprising fast. It started to drag out when we had to wait for nearly an hour to get through customs and get our luggage. After that we still had a four hour drive to San Miguel. I left my house in Portland at 5:30 AM and we didn´t arrive here until 7:15 PM - just under 12 hours of travel!
The town is beautiful. San Miguel is a very old colonial style town with cobble stone streets and spanish colonial houses. Our house is nestled into the side of a hill above the town centro. The town is very reminenscent of the towns in Spain.
Everyone is super friendly and helpful. Almost everyone speaks English so the language barrier has not been a challenge. The food has been much better than I expected. The prices seem relatively inexpensive, yet we were told, this is the second most expensive destination in Mexico (after Cancun). Last night I had an awesome dinner of fajitas (combo of beef, chicken and shrimp) and the yummiest margarita for $12.50 with tip. Not too bad!
Today we visited the Biblioteca Publica, a wonderful volunteer run library. We toured two San Miguel homes. One was pretty outragous!
Tonight we may go out to listen to jazz and eat handmade pizzas, not very Mexican, but I can´t resist pizza .-)
I will try to post photos tomorrow.
(Yes... of course I am a little homesick and I miss my family terribly. This is quite an adventure.)