Wednesday, June 25, 2008


If there can be any good news about finding out for the second time you have breast cancer, it is that apparently it is not recurrent but rather a new tumor. Recurrence is not good. I'd rather not have the new one, but it is just now showing up in tests.

My mammogram in 2007 was BI-RADS-2, which is benign and would not raise suspicion. In a year's time, it had increased to BI-RADS-4: suspicious. So my stereotactic needle biopsy confirmed that it is a tumor. My surgeon recommends a simple mastectomy, and that is scheduled in a few days. I may require chemotherapy. We have a really good Oncology clinic here where I live. That will be convenient for us for the chemo. If I require radiation therapy, that will be done in Tupelo. I know and love those people there.

When I was a new medical transcriptionist 10 years ago, my first job was there at the Cancer Center in the Radiation Oncology department. About six weeks after I started there, my regular mammogram returned a malignancy. After consulting the excellent oncologists there, I opted for the lumpectomy with radiation, since the tumor was 1.2-cm, with 1 cm being the cutoff for no therapy. I was assured that the results would be the same if I had a lumpectomy or mastectomy. I would not get chemotherapy because my tests showed that I was estrogen receptor positive and chemotherapy is not used in that case. Instead I took tamoxifen for about 5 years, and after my stroke, I was put on Arimidex for about a year and a half more.

Anyway, with this past experience under my belt, I approach this with calm. I know it won't be fun, but there are other things not fun either. My sister just younger than I is now terminal with COPD. Another younger sister just this year had an E. coli infection which later went into sepsis. She actually went into a total system shutdown and was considered a miracle when she was resuscitated successfully. Compared to this, I don't consider I have a hangnail!

So, for the next two weeks, I'll be catching up on things around the house, taking care of the garden produce, and generally just being thankful for the good health care we have. Then the mastectomy, after which I may rest a few days and then be back doing things J and I love--enjoying life. This little time-out will give me time to get focused again and I will be full speed ahead once again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Anyone who has ever had to wait to discuss treatment for C knows what I am talking about. I have had practice, however, because I was going through this same scenario ten years ago, same location. This morning I feel well. I went to the garden early and picked green beans, okra, jalapenos, cucumbers, sweet banana pepper, and squash. I saved enough Louisiana purple pod beans for J's lunch, that being his favorite bean. Will steam/grill the other veggies and bake two pieces of chicken. How healthful is all that!

I canned six pints of beans this morning, totalling 32 pints this spring. That is a pretty fair amount even if I don't get to do any more, but I do plan to do much more. It's time to go check the canner and make sure the pressure is staying up. Once the canner starts steaming steadily, it only takes 20 minutes to pressure pints. The timer just dinged.

Will check on the chicken and plate the veggies. Yum!

Monday, June 23, 2008

What Is So Rare As A Day In June!

Now that June's almost over, I realize that I have been neglecting the blog. Since our tornado a street over earlier this spring, and the cleanup next door from a 50-year-old oak being split by the wind, requiring it to be taken down, things just seemed to settle into a dull roar of mulching, watering, picking, canning, etc.

Sounds like I am bragging because this has not been a good gardening year for a lot of people around here. There was so much rain this spring that the gardens were just too wet to get in and get planted. This is where our preparation last fall and winter paid off. We had spaded/tilled the different plots and spread mulch. This spring, everything was ready to plant by just raking the mulch off to one side. Also, J had built 20-something cages from concrete foundation wire to stake our tomatoes, squash, etc. That was such a help as staking with wood stakes in the past was huge labor. He installed landscape timbers along the pole bean rows and ran lengths of that wire along there. Wonderful! Wish we had done this sooner.

We planted 20-something tomatoes, hoping to get enough to can this year. Last year was a bust on that. The one-gallon plastic jugs installed beside each plant have made watering/feeding so much easier. Our pole beans are okay, considering too much rain, but I am having plenty to can. So far this spring, I have canned 26 pints and will have more tomorrow. That is besides having plenty for family, neighbors and our consumption.

The cranberry beans are just about ready to gather. So pretty. This year we tried baby lima bush. If they mature all that have bloomed, we will be calling in help. The Christmas butter beans were planted a little later, but they are blooming now. The yellow squash looks a little "peaked," but the zucchini is beautiful. We steamed a large one for dinner tonight. Delicious. We're trying eggplant this year for the first time in many years, the regular large type, and the cute little Japanese variety. That may be my favorite, because it is so easy to cut into circles and grill on the stove top griddle/grill, my newly acquired pet. I have found out that the small yellow squash is so delicious baked, so I shall be trying that with the eggplant and zucchini. Did I mention the cucumbers? Egad. Did I mention okra? Egad again.

All of this and keeping the hosta, roses and other little things tended has kept me pretty busy. That may slow down for a bit, because there is a probability that I will be having a mastectomy for recurrent breast cancer very soon. (I am just almost 10 years out from a lumpectomy.) Anyway, it is my big plan to get well very soon and get back to my routine. Can't afford to lose any precious time with all those veggies beckoning! Wish me luck.