Tuesday, April 23, 2019

And Now... An Exhale.

I have been quiet around the internet for a few weeks. I haven't had much to say outwardly, but I've had a lot of internal dialogues and today I will share some of them.

First of all, I'm totally ok and not sick. I won't write the entire story only to tell you at the end that I'm ok. I'm not that cruel.  :)

On March 21st I went to my yearly wellness exam and my doctor found a lump in my right breast. I don't have a history of breast cancer in my family. I was taken aback and didn't really know what to think at the time. My doctor ordered a diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound. He also asked for a surgeon consult appointment. As soon as I got back home, I called to make the mammogram & ultrasound appointment. They wanted to do them at the same time, and the first ultrasound appointment I could get was 4/17. So yea, I had to wait almost a month.

About 1.5 weeks after my wellness exam, I had an appointment with my regular doctor again to remove a mole. The mole was new in the last couple of years, and was slowly getting bigger. The morning of that appointment, I was overcome by anxiety. I had been doing ok, but the mole appointment triggered the anxiety that I'm prone to, and it bubbled to the surface. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I got to the appointment and got my mole removed. I told my doctor that the long waiting period between him discovering my lump and my ultrasound appointment is causing me anxiety. He prescribed me the same medication that I took for a year after my mom died, when I had anxiety attacks.  (The mole turned out to be benign.)

During the waiting time, all kinds of thoughts went through my mind. I didn't tell my own family what was happening. I figured I didn't need to worry them excessively unless there really was something to worry about. The only people who knew were Todd and Peppermint. I told Peppermint because not only is she a good friend, but she had gone through something similar a couple of years ago. She reassured me that I've done everything right. I got my yearly mammograms and it's not like something was festering for a long time. That is something that I'm fierce about, because my mom never went to the doctor for checkups, and they found her cancer too late. When she passed away, I actually experienced some anger because of that.

I'm a planner by nature, so as weird and grim and it sounds, I was planning for the worst case scenario. Todd and I had long walk & talks about wills & trusts. I wondered who would want my huge collection of crafting supplies.

In my heart I thought about what I would want to do if I only had a certain amount of time left. I was also mad because I had worked hard my entire life and a few months after I "retired" this happens??! WTF?? But I also had a strange sense of peace because I knew that I had lived a good life so far and had no regrets. Because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I wasn't afraid to die. I was afraid of dying a terrible and painful death though. And I really didn't want to leave Todd, my sister, my dad. Todd and I always smile when we see an old couple walk hand-in-hand down the street, and we tell each other that would be us someday. I wasn't ready to let go of that dream.

I had my mammogram and ultrasound last Wednesday. The technicians were ladies and they were some of the kindest people, given what they do. They were gentle and calm. While in the waiting room, I saw a lady leave her appointment with a big smile on her face. She told the ultrasonist that she thought it would take a couple of days to get the results. The ultrasonist replied, "We wouldn't do that to you. We tell you right away." So before going in, I knew I would know. Both the mammographer and ultrasonist didn't give a clue to me as to what they were seeing though, so I was getting anxious and could feel the anxiety bubbling up again. The ultrasonist went to confer with the radiology doctor as I waited. Finally she came back and said, "we're done, you can leave. We didn't see anything concerning. Sometimes you can have extra dense breast tissue in certain areas."

I ran out of there to Todd in the waiting room. We celebrated the possibility of being an old couple walking hand-in-hand by eating some Indian food and ice cream. Todd is a pragmatic and calm person, so he never got nervous or anxious during the 4 weeks. However, I could tell he was excited to hear the good news.

My doctor told me to still keep the surgeon consult appointment, because he wants the surgeon to feel the lump. That appointment was today. It took five minutes. He said sometimes you could have more dense breast tissue and it's nothing to worry about.

And now I can finally exhale.

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Monday, April 8, 2019

Noodle’s Close Call with a Bee

On Saturday, Noodle got stung by a bee on his right eyelid!  A bee had gotten through our chimney and Noodle chased after it, not knowing what a bee was.  The bee stung him on his right eyelid.  He ran around in pain.  Finally Todd got a hold of him and immobilized him while I took the stinger out with a tweezer. He’s been ok since then, no allergy or lasting effects. Thank goodness! We were ready to take him to the emergency vet if he showed signs of distress afterwards. Poor little Noodle.

On Monday (April Fool’s Day!) I had a doctor’s appointment to get a mole removed and biopsied.  I had a new mole on the back of my left wrist and it was growing.  So my doctor decided to take it out and get it sent to pathology.  Thankfully, I got the word on Thursday that it is benign!

I spent a lot of time last week crocheting some soap scrubbies, which is like a soap pouch combined with a wash cloth.  I’ll be selling my hand-crocheted soap scrubbies with some soaps as a gift set at the end of April in my Pacifica Grace Studio shop!  They will make really cute teacher gifts!

I also spent a lot of time formulating some new products that will be included in a gift box for Mother’s Day in my store.  I’m excited to create the products!  This month’s product release will be delayed until 4/29 due to the number of products I’ll be offering.  It will also be the last new product release until September.  I’ll be taking the summer off, since the majority of the products that I ship will melt in shipment in the summer.  I will do product restockings by request, if it’s something that won’t melt in summer shipment.

The weekend before last weekend, Todd and I went to Meet Fresh again for Taiwanese dessert.  This time we got the taro ball ice bowl.  It was yummy & chewy!

This past week Todd organized a couple of social outings with coworkers and ex-coworkers.  I love how good he is about catching up with people and bringing fun into the workplace.  On Wednesday at lunch, he and his coworkers went to the newly opened Salt & Straw at One Paseo for some ice cream!

Then on Wednesday night, he had dinner with his ex-coworkers Andy and Cecile at Aladdin Mediterranean Restaurant

On Saturday, we went to lunch at Santouka Ramen, one of our favorite ramen places around here.  We went there because I wanted to go to Mitsuwa Market to buy some matcha latte mixes.  The trip was a success, as the ramen was delicious and I found the matcha latte that I was looking for!

Yesterday Todd ran his annual favorite trail race, the Xterra Black Mountain 15k Trail Run.  He did well!  As always, I’m super-proud of him.  I tried to find parking at the venue so I could take photos of him at the finish, but there was no parking, it was completely full.  So the photos of him are courtesy of his friend Amy, who ran the 5k and placed 2nd in her age group!  The run looked extra scenic this year with all the wildflowers we got from the winter rains!

After a shower, we went to Todd’s usual post-race meal, Phil’s BBQ!

For the last month, blogging has been very tedious due to Google disconnecting it’s photos API.  I despise the clunky Blogger interface and had been using Open Live Writer to do all my blog posts.  I used to be able to just drag and drop photos into Open Live Writer and blogging was so easy.  Now I have to go through a whole convoluted route to get photos to post correctly and it is taking me 3x as long to blog each post.  I’m super-frustrated with the situation.  As if having the motivating to blog isn’t enough, now I have to contend with the difficulties of getting photos into my blog posts correctly.  I’m definitely considering migrating to Wordpress.  If any of you have had experience migrating from Blogger to Wordpress, please share with me!

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

High Tea at Marlene’s Tea and Cakes

My friend Anne treated me to high tea at Marlene’s Tea and Cakes for my birthday.  We went at 11 am on Friday, March 29th.  I had never been to any high teas before, so this was an exciting new experience that I was anticipating!  Thank you Anne for the incredible treat!

Anne made reservation ahead of time.  They have high tea seatings from 11-1 and then 2-4.  They have limited seating so a reservation is a must.  When we arrived, I was enthralled with the fresh floral decorations and classy ambiance.

We were given a tea selection menu and we picked a pot of Paris tea to share.  The description for the tea:  Fruity black tea with vanilla and caramel flavors, and a hint of lemony Bergamot.   Oh man, it was so good! 

And how cute are the tea cups, creamer, and sugar cups?

Our tea came and I tried to do the pinky up but ended up with pinky down anyway!

I think Anne was better at it than me, ha ha.

Our first course was Hot Vichyssoise Soup with Puff Twist (Creamy potato and leek soup).  It was quite flavorful and delicious.

Then they brought out the three-tiered plates of awesomeness! 

The bottom tier was filled with little sandwiches and savory puff pastry and quiche.  There was:
  • Cucumber & Dill Sandwich – refreshing cucumber sandwich with dill
  • Mini-Beef Wellington – tender beef, with mushroom, in puff pastry
  • Blue Cheese Marscapone and Red Onion Confit Quiche – caramelized red onion quiche with Gorgonzola cheese
  • Chicken Pistou Sandwich – chicken salad with pistou, a mixture of garlic, basil, and olive oil
  • Nicoise Salad Sandwich – sandwich filled with tuna, egg, baby potato, haricot vert, and tomato

The second tier was filled with fruit and scones.  The strawberry & lemon scone was a cream scone with fresh strawberries, topped with lemon glaze.  It was very good!

The third tier was desserts and everything looked so pretty!  There were:
  • Kentucky Butter Crunch Cake – moist buttermilk cake soaked in cream cheese glaze, with almond & coconut crunch topping
  • Lemon Meringue Bar – luscious lemon bar topped with meringue
  • Brownie Cookies & Cream Trifle – dense brownie layered with Oreo crumbs and whipped cream
  • Vanilla Panna Cotta Tart – biscuit topped with smooth & creamy Italian custard

Anne doesn’t like chocolate (!) so I got to take a couple of the desserts home for Todd.  Everything was so exquisite and unique, and also delicious.  I really enjoyed my first high tea experience!  I’m so glad Anne invited me.  I really appreciate friends who take the initiative to make time to do something together.  As adults it seems hard to find time to see friends, but any time I can get together with a friend is truly appreciated!
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