September 25, 2012

IV Port Day

Filed under: cancer — Tags: , , , , — @ 8:03 am

Headed into Chapel Hill for another day of exciting assessment before I start cancer treatment.

I bought myself a beautiful new phone yesterday to keep me amused on my journey. I was due for a new one anyway–my iPhone 4 was quickly approaching it’s second birthday, so the battery life was atrocious and my power button had stopped working. In tandem this meant that I couldn’t keep my battery life up for very long because the shortest autolock time for the screen was an entire minute. Not to mention that I was continuously rearranging my icons. Frustrating.

So what did I buy? A lovely, glossy Samsung Galaxy S3. Yes, after four years and two iPhones I am sick of Apple’s lack of progress when compared with competitors. I was a little sad to lose my few paid apps, but not enough to stick around for more planned obsolescence and a lack of Google maps.

I’m still in the honeymoon phase, but happy with my choice.

Phones aside, I’m in for a long couple of days in terms of tests. Not bad, at least I hope, but literally long. First up is the IV port insertion. Not expecting it to be pleasant, but shouldn’t be too bad. I will most likely be drugged up for this experience. I haven’t eaten since midnight to ensure that I’m able to be knocked out if need be. Second today will be the bone scan. Not a clue what that one consists of.

Probably will post more later about the day and what is to follow.

September 9, 2012

The Other C Word

Filed under: Life,Things I Don't Like — Tags: , , , — @ 11:35 am

Cancer. I have breast cancer.

I found out almost a week ago on Friday, August 31, 2012.  The Monday prior I finally had a core biopsy on my lump that I had found back in March. I saw the tissue sample from the biopsy: it was reddish and fleshy, something I had been told many years ago is a bad sign from breast lumps. A cyst, which is what it was originally suspected to be, are greenish-yellowish and more fluid. I went on my way for the day, instructed that I might be a little sore as a result. Nothing worse than the pain from the lump itself as of late. 

The surgical clinic called on Thursday to ask if I could make it to a cancellation the next day. I told them I needed to speak with my husband to ask if he could come home and watch the kids. They told me either way that they would like to see me and that if needed they could help with the kids. Perhaps my assumptions were out of control at this point, but I was already assuming something wasn’t right. When does a doctor ever want to see you sooner than later for good news?

Keith couldn’t come home to keep the children immediately at the appointment time, but a friend was able to keep them until he could get home. Upon arrival to the appointment I was walked straight back into a room. No waiting in the waiting room didn’t bode well for the appointment. A medical assistant took my vitals and then went back out for a moment. In comes the surgeon with the medical assistant and a grave look on his face. The news is that which surely no doctor wants to relay to their patient: I have invasive ductal carcinoma. The entire pathology report is not yet complete, but they wanted to go over the basics and give me enough information to start making decisions about treatment.

It was all a bit shocking. Nobody in my immediate or close extended family has ever had cancer, not of the breast or otherwise. Uterine tumors are not uncommon, but nobody has had anything malignant. So how did I come to have breast cancer? I don’t know. Nobody does. It’s been difficult to not fixate on the whys and hows, but as we move forward I’m finding it easier to stop thinking about it.

Once the pathology report is complete we’ll be better able to figure out where all this journey is going to take us. We were told we could either stay local or go to UNC’s cancer center. We’ve pretty much decided on UNC–after dealing with the utter incompetency of obstetricians in town I’m not up to risking it with any oncologists.

The good news is that our insurance is fantastic for just this sort of tragedy. I couldn’t fathom having to be burdened with the worries of insurance and financial decisions right now. That would put having cancer into a whole different level of terror.

April 7, 2012

Recipe: Italian Sausage, Lentil and Barley

Filed under: Food — Tags: , — @ 9:16 pm

For a while now we’ve had lentils that need to be used and I’ve wanted to make a stew/hearty soup with Italian sausage, so today I finally decided to gather all my ingredients and go to town. I looked at a couple of other recipes, but didn’t find what I was looking for. My resulting concoction was tasty so I jotted it down for your cooking pleasure.


2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/2 – 3/4 cup barley, picked over and rinsed
3/4 lb Italian sausage, whatever variety desired, browned and drained
1 cup chopped carrots
2 celery stalks
1 medium onion
1 small zucchini
2 cloves garlic
1 can Italian tomatoes, diced
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups water

1 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (because I don’t have oregano)
2 teaspoons alepo pepper, or red pepper flakes if desired
Salt to taste.

Dice/chop all veggies to preferential size. Cooking time is at least 20 min or until lentils are soft. I usually cook it on low for about an hour so the veggies soften up and the flavors permeate.


January 26, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

Filed under: Food — Tags: , — @ 3:10 pm

I’ve finally succeeded at making a tasty baked potato soup! Unfortunately, I had to do it the “easy” way, because the right way (heavy cream and actual cheese) didn’t work for me. Go figure.

I used:
3 pan fried bacon strips, plus leftover grease
2 cans Campbell’s cream of cheddar (with three cans of milk instead of two)
2 green onions (greens and whites), diced
1 bit of butter
4 medium yukon gold potatoes

In a 3-quart sauce pan brown the green onions lightly in the little bit of butter over low-medium heat. Fry the bacon in a separate pan. Dice the potatoes and boil them in an appropriate pan. As soon as your green onions are cooked to your liking add in the cream of cheddar soup and milk, stir. Once the potatoes are mostly soft drain them and add them to the cheddar soup. I crumbled my bacon, added it to the soup, and added a bit of the bacon grease. It looks gross at first, but it gives it some body and that delectable bacon flavor.

It all fit into a 3-quart sauce pan, so it would probably only make 4-6 servings, but it was quick and easy which makes it perfect for Keith and I on a chilly winter day. The only thing I would do over is to make more bacon and use some of it for topping, because putting the nice crisp bacon into the soup makes it sad and soggy. I like to use a small dollop and some shredded cheddar as a garnish. Tasty!

January 23, 2011

Project: Mei Tai

Filed under: Crafts — Tags: , , , — @ 11:48 pm

We’ve needed a different baby carrier for a while. The Moby wrap is a pain in the ass to put on/take off in public (I’m OCD about having to drag the ends on the ground) and it is made out of a jersey-knit material, so it stretches as you wear it and then the entire fit is thrown off. The Baby Bjorn is Keith’s favorite baby wearing device, but it is supposedly bad for hip development because of the way it holds the hanging baby from the crotch. Alas.

My solution to this dilemma? The often crafted, never complained about mei tai! I remember seeing mei tais on Craftster years and years ago, and noted that if I ever produced spawn that a mei tai would probably be the baby-carting way to go if I was uninterested in using a stroller.

Now cue this gem: the Scandi baby carrier tutorial. Sweeeeet.

I went through my fabric stash and found many suitable bottom-weight and decorative fabrics perfect for this project. My fabric choices for my first mei tai are these:

Fabric Choices

The brown and green print is a canvas that I found on clearance at Jo-Ann’s many years ago, and the umbrella fabric is just a quilting cotton, likely from Jo-Ann’s as well. Fantastic!

Fabrics are pressed and ready to go!

The next challenge was the sewing machine. I hadn’t even touched the poor thing in more than a year. Knowing that the last time I cleaned around the bobbin case was too long ago I decided to go in for some maintenance. Good thing I did, because I cleared an entire dust bunny dynasty out from the bottom of the machine. Gross!

Tomorrow I’m going to mock up some pattern pieces from broadcloth and hopefully cut all of my pieces.

Baby carrier freedom, here I come!

January 20, 2011

Mei Tai, ready for project launch.

Filed under: Crafts — Tags: , , , , — @ 11:24 pm

I spent probably a good hour looking at various mei tai (Asian-style baby carrier) tutorials online, and finally found two that I would like a fusion of. I believe I already have all the necessary materials on hand and will verify that tomorrow.

If all goes according to plan I should have myself a mei tai by the end of the weekend. I knew all that clearance canvas from Ikea would come in handy some day!

January 9, 2011


Filed under: Life — Tags: , , , — @ 11:30 am

Why is it that every single time I look up something I want to buy it always seems to have a high resale value, whereas when I want to sell something it has a sad, low resale value. Sigh.

January 5, 2011

Hobby Lobby

Filed under: Crafts,Life,Things I Don't Like,Things I Like — Tags: , — @ 9:25 am

Oh, how I love thee. When we first moved I searched to see where the closest location would be. 22 miles, in Glen Allen. “Hey, that’s not bad!” Much to my dismay there was a cute little, “Coming Soon!” tucked underneath that listing. The closest open location was hours away!

Today I decided to check again and now there are store hours and sales. I know where I’m going this weekend!

December 26, 2010

Stove Top Popcorn

Filed under: Food,Food — Tags: — @ 10:29 pm

Since it has been snowing my husband has been going on and on about getting some corn for popping. It quickly became a he-said, she -said debate after Mr. No Single Use Kitchen Item said something about needing a popcorn popper. We always used to pop corn on the stove top, so I didn’t understand his logic. He claimed to not know that it was possible! LOL. Anyway, I found this webpage for stove top popcorn.

We followed the recipe and the popcorn came out delicious. We use Old Bay to flavor our corn.

December 13, 2010

Cooks Thesaurus: Eggs

Filed under: Food — Tags: , , , , , — @ 8:29 pm

For a while now I’ve been craving sweets. I haven’t resorted to creaming sugar and butter and eating that, but I’ve been close. I’ve done an amazing job ignoring the chocolate chips I have stashed in the baking cupboard, much to my own amazement. Finally I remembered that there was a spare Ghirardelli brownie mix. Awesome! …Except for the part where we’ve been out of eggs and milk for a week.

Not wanting to wake the baby and drag ourselves to the grocery store just to satisfy my cravings, I decided to Google egg substitutes. I vaguely know that applesauce and mayo can be used, but haven’t a clue in what amounts. In my search I found this fun website: The Cook’s Thesaurus. There are replacements and measurement equivalents.

Hurray! There is mayo in the fridge! Cravings can be satisfied after all, and there will be reading material for my evening.

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