Deflated Mammary Glands

Today was my mammogram appointment. I’ve missed the last few years or so, and now that I have this insurance thing figured out, I thought that it was time to actually use the referral given to me last spring by my former, now once more accepted PCP.

I’m not one to be bothered by standing in a room, flashing my boobs for the technician to see and feel. It is awkward though, figuring out just how to get up close and personal with the machine without actually climbing onto the machine, especially when you are being asked to

-raise your arm

-bend your elbow

-lower your shoulders

-hold your other breast back with the flat of your hand

-keep the other arm to your side, and don’t forget to lower your shoulder

-put your chest forward

-stick your butt out a bit

-relax your shoulders ( I heard that one a lot )

-hold still

-hold your breath

-and breathe

All the while watching the gown falling to the floor around you.

I do enjoy seeing the images pop up on the screen, even though I’m much more proficient at reading a dental x-ray. I didn’t see any wayward teeth in my mammogram, thank god.

I always try to remind the techs that I have this scar on my left breast. It’s about 31 years old, and most likely no one cares anymore, but after my very first mammogram years ago, and being called back for a re-evaluation when someone didn’t get the memo that it was there, I don’t take any chances.

I had mastitis when I was nursing my first daughter. One of the milk glands was so infected that it had to be incised and drained. Now I just look like I was stabbed at some point and the only reminder is the 1 1/2 inch, whitish-silver scar on my breast. The last time I had this procedure they used two small metallic arrows to delineate each end of the scar so the radiologist could double check the tissues underneath. This time around I had a tiny, ultra-thin wire taped to the length of the scar. It was pretty funny to see what looked like a stray needle stuck inside my chest when the x-ray popped up on the screen.

I hope the radiologist takes the time to read the notes the technician sent along with the images. I’m not clever enough to come up with a plausible story as to why I’m might be walking around with with a wire in my boob, especially one that is unattached to anything.


Confessions of a Citrus Snob

I love orange juice.

Oranges however, are not high on my list of favorite fruits.

All the peeling and squirting of juice into eyes and/or open cuts. All the white pith that won’t let go no matter how hard you try to get it off.

Not to mention those oranges that look so very juicy…until you bite into a few sections and find them to be desiccated and sporting membranes so tough that it feels like chewing on a rubber band.

I am hugely fond however, of mandarin oranges that make an appearance around the holiday season each year.

Not just any old tiny, thin skinned, seedless variety though. Some folks swear by their Cuties clementines. Others like their Halos. In fact, you’ve probably seen the commercial featuring the kids who will do just about anything to get and keep their Halos.

I will only be happy with BeeSweet Satsuma Mandarins. I have tried the others and they just don’t cut it when it comes to easy peeling, juiciness, thin membranes, and a flavor that is slightly sweet-tart.

Cuties do not peel all that easily, no matter what their boxes say. I have never had a Cutie or a Halo that had delicate membranes, just those thick, chewy ones like bigger oranges.

When I’m desperate for my seasonal orange fix, I have on occasion purchased both of the inferior brands and been so very disappointed from the first attempt at peeling. They just aren’t for me, and after this last round I have finally come to admit that I am a Satsuma snob and will simply forego little orange heaven if I can’t find the Bee Sweet brand. They are only in stores a short time, just a few months, but my loyalty is strong and my dislike of the other brands of mandarins is even stronger.

From this point forward it will be Bee Sweet, or it will be nothing.



What do you see?

I was reminded today that what we often see with the occasional glance, or through the informal word, or while looking on a frozen moment in time captured in a photograph, only tells a small part of someone’s story.

Do you ever wonder about the people you know?

Perhaps someone you work with. You see this person daily probably, but other than the individual who sits behind the desk to the right or left of you, what do you really know about them? If your entire relationship is based upon the actions and words of someone you encounter for 8 hours per day, is that enough to really know who that very same person is at home, in their private life?

I imagine you might have some idea of individual likes and dislikes. You may be privy to some deeper expressions of emotions surrounding things like job stress or frustration. You might even have been granted glimpses into aspects of their private life – rather you wanted that information or not.

I suppose you probably assume that the person you spend so much time with each day is likely to be much the same in temperament and personality when they are at home. I think we would all assume something along those lines.

I wonder how surprised you would be to find out that the person who seems rather friendly, rather personable, rather opinionated at work, is not the same person when they are at home. I’m sure that you would doubt that the person you know and most likely enjoy being with is the polar opposite when they enter through their front door. I bet that you may even loudly claim that it couldn’t be possible, that the person you know surely wouldn’t shut down, close off, turn into a withdrawn empty shell of that individual who sits across from you.

Erving Goffman, a Canadian sociologist would most likely jump on the chance to use the individual described briefly above as an excellent example of his theories on impression management and dramaturgy.

Personally, I believe, like Goffman, that we all sustain various roles during our daily lives. We move between front and back stage and we manage what others see to suit our needs at any given time.

The next time you sit next to an acquaintance on the train, or take part in a meeting or event with someone you have known for years, or even when you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner with family members, I wonder if the person to your left or right – the person you think you know from personal social interactions- is the same person that others see.

I bet you might be surprised at the number and scope of the roles that they play.


Pondering the future

I have no words about Paris, because nothing can be said that adds any sort of sanity or safety or understanding to yet another act of violence and terror. I can only question and contemplate what our world will be twenty years from now when my two granddaughters are adults. I have to believe that their world will be better, because if I don’t my heart breaks and moving through life seems senseless. 

I mentioned attending a baby shower for a past co-worker in a recent post. I met with her and her husband yesterday. We planned to talk some about labor and choices and realities. None of us knew what was happening on the other side of the world while we were talking. I can’t help but wonder if they are questioning just what their son’s world will be like in the future after learning what had happened while we spoke of babies, and life, and parenting, and hope and joy. They are the couple that already questioned so much about becoming parents, that even when the positive sign appeared on the pregnancy test were still unsure. I wonder what they are thinking today. Do they worry more today than they already worried. Has Paris created more fear for a couple that is struggling to adjust to the loss of control that labor and birth and parenting brings. Will future attacks, because we know that there will be more, make them question their decision.

I wonder if I would question having a child if I was young again and looking to the future…the child’s future. I wanted to be a mother deeply. I could not imagine not being a mother. Would I have the courage now to bring a child into a world of such profound hurt and pain. Could I, perhaps selfishly, present a child into a society that cares so little about others lives and worth. 

What would you choose, and how would you decide, with the knowledge that once more our reality has been altered by violence?

Holiday Declarations

The other day The Dancing Professor wrote about her ongoing concerns, perhaps issues is a better word, regarding holiday commitments with her husbands family. She asked her readers to weigh in on their own woes, or joys, centered on family and holiday time spent together.

I mentioned that my own days of up and down decisions with this topic might just warrant my own post as my answer to her could inevitably become rather drawn out.

While TDP has very legitimate concerns, I believe, regarding spending time with folks that she has a fundamental difference of viewpoint on surrounding topics like women, and race, and religion, and politics, and society, my own desire to avoid all things holiday comes mostly in the fact that I just don’t get jazzed about all the extraneous stuff and nonsense surrounding this time. I have however, compiled a list of some of the reasons why ‘the holidays’ are quickly becoming a thing I just don’t do.

  1. Commercialization. I cannot and will not abide the commercialism that has turned four separate days into an endless parade of glitter and glitz and overpriced crap from late August through the middle of January.
  2. Due to some sort of ongoing banishment by some extended family members towards other extended family members, our immediate family has forgone any real, large celebrations for years. This is, by far, okay on so many levels. It also avoids much of what TDP is concerned about.
  3. We eat very differently and while it can be done, I suspect that no one is especially glad to anticipate making the carnivores, the gluten and dairy free folk, the vegetarians, and the multi-level alcohol consumers happy every year.
  4. The level of commitment to other celebrations. I swore that I would never make any of my children/their families feel obliged to participate in an annual get-together around any holiday. Lest it be forgotten, spouses have families of their own and perhaps would not find it amusing to have a specific date set in stone that must never be changed or questioned or denied. I see my family often. I do not find a need to monopolize a specific day. When it works, we get together rather that comes with a holiday associated or not.
  5. We have no formal, spiritual ties to these celebratory days. We long ago gave up any ties to Wicca or dancing naked in the forest to celebrate changing seasons. Let it be said- we could easily read any number of conflicting, and negative social incursions into the celebration of Thanksgiving. Besides, I just spent the entire month of October on gratitude. Views on religion and belief, or lack-there-of, allow most of us to disregard what many believe to be the true meaning of Christmas. Also, see #1. New Years…I can’t drink enough to make it worthwhile to bar hop, nor can I stay awake past 9 PM, so who cares that when I wake up our world will be another year older.
  6. The desire to see my children and their families make their own traditions. There are young children, new marriages, and a single woman who would rather celebrate Festivus if forced to celebrate anything during this time. These individuals all need to have the opportunity to find their own way and create their own memories. I have had my turn.
  7. A strong desire to simply be quiet, and alone, and reflect on whatever I may want to reflect upon without being told that I must reflect at all.

So, this year is a landmark. We are taking the necessary steps to simply not plan anything. We can be where we want to be, with who we want to be with. We can be alone if we choose. We can visit or ignore. We will come or go or stay. We will see who we see and be happy, but we will not be sad or mad if we see no one because we know they will be happy in what they have chosen to do and who they have chosen to be with. We will eat what we want or nothing at all if that seems correct.

I, for one, am already anticipating quite a nice end to this holiday season with this new found, non-obligatory observance.