Archive for the 'Thoughts on turning 50' Category

16
Nov
13

time to party

Tonight, my parents, siblings and a few friends are joining my family at Babbin’s, a local seafood restaurant. There will be fun, fellowship and alligator appetizers for the adventurous among us. No, it does not “taste just like chicken”. Afterwards, we will be going to my parent’s house for cake. The only ones missing will be RTA and MFA, who live too far away to come (insert frowny face here). I told FMP that this all sounded a bit expensive and he asked me if I intended to turn 50 again. Since I don’t, I had to concede his point. On with the festivities!!

Advertisements
16
Nov
13

i made it, so there!

Despite my upper original equipment’s trying to kill me at 39 and my lower original equipment’s trying to kill me at 47, I have reached the auspicious age of 50. My beautiful, belov├ęd cousin, Kelly, was taken by a form of the first disease that tried to make off with me before she could reach this milestone. In thankfulness to God and in memory of her, I intend to have a very good year for my 50th. This will not bring her back, but I hope God will let her know that I remember her with love.~TSK

24
Oct
13

i ran, but i couldn’t hide

Yesterday, as usual, I stayed home while the college I work at held their annual “Pink Out”. As you can probably guess, this involves everyone’s wearing pink to support breast cancer awareness. I don’t work on this day because I cannot handle this; it gives me panic attacks. So, I stay home and do things I would do if I were on vacation.

This year however, I had panic attacks anyway. This stemmed from an innocent conversation with a co-worker. Let me say up front that I know this person meant well and is just concerned for me. When I said that I would not be in on Wednesday, s/he asked why. I explained that it was too painful for me and that it caused panic attacks. S/he asked, “Have you sought professional help for this?”. I felt as if someone had slapped me across the face. The “correct” way of dealing with breast cancer has so worked itself into the collective consciousness that my reaction to it is seen as a “problem”. If I had announced that I could not attend a meeting about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) because I had lost a child in that manner (I did not, but I feel great sorrow for those who have), no one would have said a word. But, because I don’t want to be pink and cheerful over having my quality of life permanently damaged; I need help.

I do NOT need help. I need people to get that there is something wrong with this entire process. In the 1960’s, when I was born, the main treatment for this cancer was removal of breasts. It is completely ridiculous that, almost 50 years later, that is still the standard! Seriously!? FIX THIS! We are not impressed.

If I were to start a charity, I would call it FixThisNow. There would be no t-shirts, mugs or other merchandise. Every penny not needed to keep things running would go straight to independent research not funded by anything but those monies. No corporations, no hospitals, no drug companies. Then, maybe we could get somewhere because no one would have a stake in keeping this disease around.

Women who have had breast cancer are not the problem, regardless of how they chose to cope. Cancer IS the problem and we need unbiased people trying to solve it.–TSG

08
Sep
13

it’s on….and i want it off

Yesterday, I went out to get some new work clothes. I have long hated trying things on because I carry my weight in my hips whereas many women carry theirs at the waist. So, pants that I know will fit me in the waist often do not make it up that far. A case in point is the beautiful cobalt blue leather pair I tried on yesterday. I am in deep mourning over this because I love leather.

In my closet there hangs a lovely black leather a-line skirt that FMP bought me the Christmas RTA was one. It is a size eight and fit me like a glove at one time. Not only that, it looks classy and wears like iron. I am not going to set a goal to get back into it right now because I am in at least a 16 now. Instead, I am going to aim for the purple skirt I wore one Easter. It, too, is a classic a-line, but almost hits the floor while the other is knee-length. The size has long worn off the label and I can’t remember what it was. It is such an outstanding color!

So, here’s the plan: One regular soda in the morning because I don’t drink coffee. After that, water or iced tea. Walk around the campus every day at about 4:00pm. Take fruit to eat instead of something from the machines. Try to get a bit more movement in by walking over to ask people questions or relay information when possible and practical.

Why have I suddenly made this resolve? Well, “critical mass” has been reached; my upper story bounces when I walk. Although I have no feeling in the breasts themselves due to the reconstruction, I can feel the up and down motion pulling on other parts of my chest. This annoys me no end. I remember the sensation from when I nursed the children. I love them dearly, but it was always something of a relief to go back to my normal size when they were weaned. I don’t know what other women use a gauge of when they really need to lose weight. This is mine.

Those of you who pray are invited to join me in asking God to help me not crave sweets as I normally do. Thanks!–TSG

03
Sep
13

if i had been left alone

Sometimes, I wonder what my body would have aged like if it had been left to its own devices. In 2003, both of my breasts were removed and reconstructed with tissue from my abdomen. The medicine I was given to help prevent a recurrence of the cancer left me with (briefly) OCD and (more lingeringly) panic attacks. The psychoactive medicines I was given to help with this were known to cause weight gain, so my traumatic-illness-induced hypothyroidism went undiagnosed until I had gained some 90 pounds. Finally, I was thrown into menopause suddenly in 2011 when a fibroid tumor almost led to my bleeding to death. The doctors felt that, given my history of breast cancer, it would be best to take my ovaries along with my uterus. I am still dealing with the hot flashes from that experience.

I have two sisters. I sometimes look at them and wonder whether I would have aged as they did or some totally different way. I am glad that I got to age at all, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wish I’d been left to age normally. Could we PLEASE find a way to stop this disease so that women can age as they should. The mastectomy got rid of the cancer by removing anyplace it could go. I don’t consider that a cure. I know this can be done; many other cancers have a successful treatment. I wonder if all the hype is slowing up the research. There is a lot of money in “support” for breast cancer “survivors”. That money would go away if a cure were found. Do our “supporters” really want a cure or is the money just too good to let go? By the way, I am neither a “survivor” nor a “victim”. I was sick and now I am well. That is all! Now, let’s find a way to achieve that without maiming women for life.–TSG

18
Jul
13

now that i’m done complaining

After the rant of some weeks ago regarding everything I thought was going wrong, I am ready to do what I can about what I can. With that in mind, I have taken up walking the campus of the college (about 1 mile) every day at 3:00. On Thursday or Friday (whichever is our last day of the week), I am going to weigh myself. I will wear the same clothes and shoes each time so that everything is equal. Today, I am at 246. This is not the most I have ever weighed, but it is uncomfortably close. I will be rounding down if I fall between two numbers both for morale reasons and because of the running shoes. Yes, I am aware that I am not running, but they provide better support. Maybe I will eventually become ambitious and try a little running.

TSG

07
Jul
13

I am smart

There! I have said it. I did not say this to brag or boast. I said it because it is a fact of my life and one that is causing me trouble.

I’ve discovered that some people are afraid of anyone who has above average intelligence. I once greeted two of my female classmates on the stairs in junior high after school. They were going up and I was coming down. They obviously did not know that stairwells carry sound. When they were out of sight, one said to the other, “she is so smart”. “Yes,” replied the other, “but she is very sweet.” Thinking on this, I realize that the sweet statement was meant to be an buffer to the smart one. In other words, it was okay that I was smart since my niceness counteracted it.

When I was at home with the children, this was not as much of a problem. However, there were those who wanted to know why I was “wasting” my talent by staying home when I could be sharing it with the world. I think that passing on my knowledge to my children is sharing it with the world. Now, there are four of me where before there was only one. Not many jobs give you the opportunity to quadruple your strength.

When I did go into the workforce, my brains gave me more trouble. One co-worker was so disconcerted that she actually stood up in the middle of a temporary office in a conference room and began to yell at me about something off the wall that I had no idea I was even doing. After patching things up, my supervisor (who has since moved on) told me that the co-worker saw me as a threat to her job because I was smart. I had absolutely no designs on her job and had never even considered what it was.

The biggest problem, though, is me. Yes, I am afraid of my own smarts. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Never the less, it is true. I often make mistakes half on purpose to keep others from feeling threatened. (PS-EB, this is the main cause of my inability to speak French with the proper accent.) I don’t volunteer for projects whose solution will showcase my thinking skills. Finally, I am in a job where I am greatly underused because I do not want to risk offending others by seeking one that is more of a challenge. Periodically, I have to take one of my Xanax just to keep me calm enough to get through the day. I am antsy because I am bored.

If I could, I would quit tomorrow. Then, if we had the money, I would do research for the rest of my life and write books on what I found. That way, if anyone felt threatened by my smarts, I wouldn’t know it.

But, I hold the insurance that allows us to take care of IRP, so I will go on. I will try to gain the courage to find a better job. Unfortunately, this may mean that I have to go to a new place. I hate new places because I never know who is going to be offended and what they will do as a result.

My greatest fear is that I have passed on this reluctance to use my intelligence to IRP. She is also smart, but she very rarely shows it. Forgive me, sweetie, if I have made you afraid. Be bold and do what your mother didn’t. Love to you!

TSG