Close Encounters of the Strange Kind

Because I have seen the inside of more medical facilities in the past month than I have in the past ten years, I am learning a lot about the variances. Some are insignificant, but some are important. Others are almost comical. I have had two procedures in a state of the art hospital, brand spanking new, with the staff wearing shiny expressions to match the décor. I have visited upscale places with piped in muzak and an assortment of snacks. And I have been to no-frill offices, the austerity of the exam rooms matching the plain reception area without a magazine or coffee machine in sight. The contrast provides an interesting study in the differences offered to patients. As far as I can tell,

Good Days and Bad Days

I had a meltdown in Publix yesterday. It wasn’t a big one, thank goodness. I didn’t fall to my knees, weeping into the produce, but it was enough to remind me that I am not as firmly in control of my emotions as I would like to believe. Quite frankly, I am not in control of anything in my life. Each new day brings another ordered test, a procedure to schedule. My dance card is filling quickly with appointments with people who can’t imagine the fear in my heart as I force a smile and answer their questions, repeating myself over and over with each encounter. I am learning that preparing for this unknown journey is time consuming. I understand: they have to fully identify the nature of the b

The Unwelcomed Alien and other bits of Medical Trivia

Three months ago my Google history was filled with mundane searches. I wanted to know where to view the upcoming eclipse; I needed a recipe for blue cheese dressing. Now, I am looking at big words like ascites and lapachol tea. I have even asked Mr. G for the best way to keep a wig on a bald head. I guess I am still vain. Let’s face it: my life has been undeniably altered. And from this moment on, everything will be measured by its relation in time, having occurred pre or post diagnosis. I have been asked about my symptoms. Perhaps I have become Everywoman, as my friends look at me and wonder if it could happen to them. I am a firm reminder that none of us are immune to the tragedies of life

Vanity and Friendship

I have always wondered why the significant lessons in life are those learned the hard way. Through turmoil and strife, the wisdom arrives, wrapped in a pretty package. It is the prize for the heartache, the assurance that there is a reason for everything. I have to believe that to be true. I could write several blog posts about the insight, the understanding that didn’t exist just a month ago. And perhaps I will. I have no doubt that my awareness will change as I become more enlightened. Enlightened. I like that word. It sounds important. But that will come later. This is a post about vanity and friendship. They seem like rather incongruous concepts, but I promise I am going somewhere with t

The Appointment

We are there early, having navigated the notoriously bad Atlanta traffic. On any given day, a trip to the city could take minutes or hours, depending on luck and the number of catastrophes that clog up the interstates with alarming regularity. I am having my own catastrophic moment, so I am grateful not to have encountered another. Little things suddenly seem big to me. The waiting room is upscale, dimly lit. There are comfortable chairs and a table with bottled water and snacks. I think it is supposed to evoke a feeling of calm. I don’t feel calm. I am back to the mindless magazines. But I will take any diversion, a moment where the word “cancer” doesn’t echo through my brain, reminding me

Doggie Diagnosis

Week Two: I have measured the timeline of my life by the dogs who have loved me, starting with a black cocker spaniel I had at three and ending with Lola, a Bijon Frise, who is currently a part of our family. We adopted Lola six years ago. She had been a breeder in a puppy mill, rescued by a zealous group of animal lovers who stepped in to save her and the other unfortunate dogs who shared her dismal fate. When she came to us, she was overly skittish, hated men, and lacked socialization. It was to be expected. She bore the physical marks of her ordeal. Her hips had been stretched wide and her stomach hung away from her body, swinging as she walked. But there was something about her spirit, s

On birthing a book.... Part II

It has long been theorized that birth order within a family affects a person’s personality as well as plays a role in overall development. Even though siblings share the same genetics and are raised in the same household environment there are going to be major differences. I have learned that writing a book is similar to bringing a baby into the world with its labor pains, nagging uncertainties, and optimistic hopes. Birthing a trilogy is much like having three children. And each one presents its own set of challenges and rewards. The first one is a grand experiment, filled with worries and concerns. Just like a new mother is nervous, vigilant and over protective as she studies the baby boo

First, You Weep

I lay on the table poised only a few feet from the circular dome where the CAT scan would be performed. The technician wrapped a wide Velcro belt around me, a concession made so that I wouldn’t fall off. A proactive medical community anticipates any situation that could be a lawsuit in the making. Welcome to modern America. I had already drunk the vile container of barium. It had a bit of a milky coconut flavor to it, and I made a mental note to avoid pina coladas for the next few months. The IV was inserted. I was warned that I would experience a warm sensation in my throat and have an overwhelming desire to pee. Funny how they know these things. As I stared at the ceiling I prayed. And I w

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