Guardian Angel

I’m sitting in the parking structure at Radiology downtown. I have 10 minutes before I need to check in. I cried all the way here. I know the odds of there being something really wrong are extremely low, but it doesn’t stop my brain from being upset. I’m not worried, because I know that whatever it is, it already is…something or nothing…I’m just scared. Not too scared to get out of the car…trying to get my eyes to behave, my tear ducts under control. If I look upset, the nurses will be more solicitous and I can’t handle that now. Better that they’re rude so I can be irritated or angry.

They won’t be rude. They never are.

This is the drawing I did back in late June after a followup mammogram.

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In June, I had my normal mammogram, and then they called me at school (strangely, I answered) and wanted a followup, but they couldn’t say why. Way to strike fear into a woman’s heart. My doctor called later that day to explain. Whoops. Timing issues. So I went in for the followup (it’s not the first time) and they did 4 or 5 mammograms and an ultrasound and the doctor came in and said there was this thing, deep behind the nipple, but it had been there for three years without changing…but he was concerned. Not so concerned to biopsy it, but concerned enough to have me back in 6 months. So I did that drawing. Ironically, it’s the wrong breast…but I guess I drew it as facing, on the left side. Anyway. It will be my next big quilt, I think. Maybe.

So I went back in today. I wasn’t worried…I was just scared. Those are different feelings. I do my monthly exams. I have no family history. I breastfed for a good long time.

They did three mammogram views and then she said they would call me, and I said, um. Yeah. Can you just have him look now, because I don’t want to have to come back? So she did. And yeah, he wanted an ultrasound. I pack myself out to the “Women’s Lounge” (a separate room in Radiology, so I don’t feel weird about sitting there double-gowned with my clothes in a pile on my lap). I tell them my time constraints (girlchild had her CT scan for today too). They take me in for the ultrasound, and I watch her, watch the screen, watch what they’re looking for. I don’t know what is good and what is bad. She says, “It’ll just take 5 minutes.” Twenty minutes later and she finally says I can clean up, but she wants the doctor to look. “You can get dressed.” “Are you sure?” “Yes.” Yeah. I got dressed, and then she came back with the doctor and I got undressed again. Everything is covered with that ultrasound gel now. I think I stopped breathing normally somewhere in there. I sent a message to the girlchild, told her to meet me at her appointment. We already had a contingency plan in case this happened. Her text back made me tear up. She said good luck.

Doctor comes in. His name? Lumpkin. Seriously? (OK, it might be Lumkin, but still!) She does the ultrasound again. Shows him something. He asks about something else. They stare at my breast, then at the ultrasound. Then he smiles and says, “It’s that same thing, a shadow. It’s been there since 2007. It hasn’t changed. I just want two more views on the mammogram.” Gel off, new gown (old one covered in gel), sit in the waiting room Women’s Lounge (I am still not lounging) again. Back in, another two views, which makes five total. Deep breaths. They do the twisty roll thing this time. I’m laughing. The woman is on her knees on the ground, trying to position all of my parts in the right place. I’m looking up at the machine, and someone has put some sort of scented thing on the machine…lavender…to calm us. I’m calm. I’m in pain, but I’m calm. I’m not breathing right, but I’m calm. Whatever it is, it’s already there. It’s been in me for 6 1/2 years or more. Flashes of Aliens movies.

It’s OK. He says it’s normal tissue. I go back in 6 months to my normal mammogram. As long as it stays the same, I’m good. That foreign shadow is part of me.

As I head out for the girlchild’s CT scan, I wish I had my sketchbook. I haven’t drawn all break. No opportunities, I guess. Other priorities. I haven’t done much of anything, it seems. Not true, but it feels that way. Achievement low. Must fix that in the next week.

So I came home and started ironing again…

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Didn’t have much time in the afternoon, because I was wrangling with the FAFSA (financial aid for college). I was supposed to know city and state for every college the boychild applied to (I didn’t).

Damn breast is sore. I got all of the torso ironed to the staff, so I pulled it off the teflon sheet and rolled it up on itself…

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That’s how I store it until it’s time to iron it all down to fabric. I wanted to finish today, but ended up needing to think about sleep. I am actually fairly wide awake, even now, but I need to be up at a reasonable hour tomorrow, so I can’t stay up until I’m done. I do want to get a different background fabric tomorrow, probably in the afternoon. I’ll take some of the pieces with me and toss them down on the floor, thus freaking out everyone in the store. Yay me.

In between all this, girlchild had a game…

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I graded for the hour before the game…I bargain with myself about work vs. stuff that’s more fun.

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Because taking pictures during the night games is totally pointless. I did more embroidery on these.

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I’m working on the first two month’s worth. I’ve done all the embellishment in the background color on all 6 blocks, and now have moved on to eyes and feet on all 6. I originally estimated 2 games to finish 3 blocks, so it would be 4 games to finish 6. I’ve put in 2 games’ worth of time on the 6 blocks, so I should be done at next Wednesday’s game. I might be done with grading by then too, if I’m lucky…or at least the grading I can do while sitting on the bleachers. She played half the game tonight, so that was good, but there was all this stupid coaching politics going on, so who knows. I stitch because it keeps me calm during games. Plus I like to stitch. The one guy who’s been asking me about the birds every game asked me if I was done today. You so funny. I’m never done.

Anyway, we had been smart enough to put dinner in the slow cooker, so it was ready when we got home. I exercised and meditated, and finally started ironing really late, unfortunately.

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I’m finally ironing the crone’s face…I got all the hair and the cat done, and then constructed the eyes and complicated bits down below on the pattern, so I could put them on top after…

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It’s easier for me to see the pieces that way. I think each eye had about 10 pieces in it. She’s a complicated woman.

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And I really like how she turned out. Deep breaths. I think this quilt is going to come together and be what I want it to be. I’ll feel better when I see it all together. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to show the whole thing before the exhibit opens. I’ll have to go read the rules. You might have to wait until October. That would suck. I really don’t like rules like that.

Tomorrow, hopefully I’ll get it all together…there’s an owl to do and some thorny bits, and then I need to find a new background and iron the whole thing down. Not sure whether I can do that all tomorrow…and Sunday is a bit busy as well. But I’ll try. I also still have a binding that needs to go on.

I finished this book today…Doomed by Chuck Palahniuk


I really liked it in the beginning, like 5 out of 5 liked it, but it really wore on my nerves by the end. He has a way with words, but nothing really happened in this book. It was interesting enough, but also irritating. So yeah…down to a 3 out of 5 by the end. It would have been better if it were shorter? I don’t know. I’m going to read some of his other stuff, because I like the words, but these two that I’ve read are apparently not his best, OR he’s all over the map. It’s hard to tell. I don’t really trust GoodReads reviews unless it’s someone I know who reads books I read. Otherwise, every book has been rated a 1 or a 5 by someone.

I have done a good job of keeping up with all the library holds that came in while I was on vacation…I’m not caught up yet, though. It’s been a good run…I’m enjoying what I’m reading. I’ve also been watching Firefly, the TV series that is a Western in space. The boychild recommended it to me, and I’m almost through all of them. They grew on me. I wasn’t sure about the first two episodes, but the last four have been great. The dialog cracks me up sometimes…”That sounds like science fiction.” “We live on a spaceship, dear.” I’ll miss them when they’re gone…I guess that’s a sign of a good show.

So all the angst of the morning is still sitting in my chest, ironically, around about the same place as that shadowy invader, whatever it is. I’m calling it my guardian angel at the moment. Everyone needs one…she might as well reside in my left breast. But all the ironing helped. Getting the face done helped. It was successful. I need more successful, apparently. Eases the sorrow. The pain. The sad. I have this lockbox, open, inside my chest. It’s waiting for my brain to gather up all the feels associated with this pain and put them in the lockbox, close it up and walk away from it. Move on. Let go, says the counselor. My brain is like a pitbull with a steak in its mouth. The brain won’t do it. It picks up a piece here, a piece there, but as it’s reaching for that piece way over there, it drops one of the others. Goes back for that one and drops another. Comedy of errors, of lame-ass behavior, of not really trying? Who knows. I move on. I don’t, but I do. I move on and my brain stays back and tries to continue picking up pieces. I’ll come back when she’s ready for me.

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