Thursday, April 30, 2009

Surgical Oncologist # 1

Bottom line: mastectomy, chemo, and perhaps radiation too.

I just got back from my first appointment with a surgical oncologist. These are the facts he presented as I understand them. Along with updating all my wonderful friends it is also a means of keeping track of what each doctor tells me in once place – aren’t you all lucky you get to read my new cancer notebook. If anyone actually reads all this and sees something I missed or has a question PLEASE feel free to say so – the more eyes the better.

Because the tumors are far apart, large and multi-focal he recommends a mastectomy, with reconstruction if I choose.

It is possible I may need chemo before the surgery to shrink the tumors. New preliminary studies have shown that increases survival rate with tumors of a certain size. I will need chemo after the surgery. NOTE to self, if I have it before do I still need it after, too – I think so, but double check.

He felt more masses, tho obviously they didn’t show up on the mammogram or ultrasound. For them I need a fine needle aspiration (not the same as the core needle biopsy I had, so my understanding is they feel more cyst like – forgot to ask if the fluid removed is biopsied, NOTE to self, remember to find that out.

An MRI was advised initially to pick up anything a mammogram might have missed, except according to an MRI expert he asked since I am lactating even if I stop nursing today it takes months to “clear up” and therefore an MRI is useless for now. I’m wondering if there’s a fine line between totally useless and just not as accurate. NOTE to self, remember to ask next doc that.

My cancer is estrogen receptive – apparently that was in the report but we missed it. That means my ovarian function needs to be permanently ceased, either thru drugs or removal. Instant menopause. He clams this is good news, as with suppressed estrogen it puts odds in my favor in terms of reoccurance rate after mastectomy and treatment, barring other as yet unknown factors.

The Her2 test results, to see if it’s an aggressive growing type of tumor, has not come back yet. NOTE to self, make sure we get that from the lab ASAP.

He wants me to contact a gynecologist to get a medication to dry up my milk. Instant weaning. Apparently, according to him, the hormones involved in the process of making breast milk may influence the growth of the cancer. I asked him if I could at least take two weeks, and he said yes, that would probably be okay. Then I asked if I were his wife what’s the longest he would advice me to take to wean my son, to which he replied, “If you were my wife you wouldn’t still be nursing my two and a half year old son” Asshole.

I have a phone call in to a lactation consultant; I’m wondering if this medication that dries up the milk would still allow Daniel to suckle – even if he gets no milk out. During toddler hood they get very little actual milk anyway, some, but not necessarily cups full, more like a spoonful here and there…so much of it is habit and comfort and bonding. I’m afraid to hope.

I’m also wondering if by some miracle when my breasts no longer make milk if he could even suckle on the remaining one whilst I undergo chemo – assuming there’d be no danger of chemicals being transmitted thru a milk-less breast. That might actually help him wean less drastically. I’m afraid to hope for that, too.

The doctor used the word cure. Assuming the cancer wasn’t beyond the lymph nodes. That won’t be known until the sentinel ones are removed (that’s the first few) If cancer shows up there they remove all of them. Assuming cancer isn’t in all of them, the word cure is the one thing he said that made me not want to punch him in the face. That and, despite his attitude towards breastfeeding, he seemed to be extensively knowledgeable and very informative.

However, unless somehow the other two surgeons are infinitely worse, this is not my doctor. Even if I go with every protocol he suggests, it just didn’t feel 100% right.

There’s more….thoughts and feelings. But I can’t go there right now. Frankly I am so tired I just want to some Xanax to take the edge off.

I will post again, soon.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quick check & a post script

Michael, the kids and I are going to pick up my films and slides today so that I will have them for my first doc appt -- which is tomorrow, with a surgical onconlogist...the first of 3 such docs, along with 2 medical oncologists as well. My last scheduled appointment with anyone (thus far, anyway) is the 12th, I believe.

Since we will be near various stores today that carry things we need, we are also making a major supply run and stocking up. It reminds me of when I was pregnant and Michael would come home from BJ's with more paper towels than a family could use in a year. It reminds me of that, but it's not the same.

Anyway, I may or may not post much today & tomorrow, it's hard to say. So just in case I really wanted to put this up as a sort of little check in. It might sound weird, but I feel like it's the least I can do, to keep in touch...all of you wonderful amazing friends have been so loving, your support has become so important to me and my family that I wouldn't want to leave you hanging or wondering.

See ya later...

EVENING PS: All went well gathering films and slides. We hit Whole Foods hard and spent a small fortune, but it's even more worth it than usual to stock up on healthy, organic stuff. If there's a natural disaster, come to my house, I got plenty.

My doc appointment is in the morning tomorrow, so this counts as my little check in :)

Goodnight, see ya...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Granny panties, sports bras & irony

I figured the above post title at least somehow correlated to the fact that this blog was once about style, clothes, fashion, appearances, whatever.

So, I just now ordered some relatively comfy, cotton and very unexciting panties. I figured I am going to be spending time in a hospital and such, so I should have new, practical knickers. I also, before the needle biopsy, bought some sports bras from, wait for it….Target. They are Champion and I bought them larger than normal. They were not for athletic support.

I was told I needed a wireless sports bra to wear after the needle biopsy, so comfort was the order of the day rather than industrial support. My sports bras were all under wire – I always thought they looked better as I just hate that mono-boob look.

(OMG, there’s so much irony in the phrase “mono-boob” right now that I’m not EVEN gonna go there!)

Moving on.

My day also has consisted of cleaning. That is actually ironic on many levels. For one, I am not one of those women who cleans therapeutically. In fact, I am the opposite. The condition of my home is directly parallel to my mental status. When I am happy, stress free and doing well, my house is fairly neat & orderly. But when I am anxious, depressed and otherwise stressed, well, chaos doesn’t even begin to cover it. But apparently cancer is different. Cancer makes me want a clean house. I know, I get the symbolism...I'm just not going there either.

Yet even more irony...for those of you who aren’t reading my little novel in progress, one of the main characters has breast cancer, that's not the ironic part, it was spontaneous as I contemplated my own possible diagnosis.

Yesterday, (was it only yesterday?) as I waited for my phone call to find out the biopsy results I wrote a piece about her waiting for her phone call. In the story she was cleaning, atypical and ironic for her. In real life, I was not. I was doing many things, but cleaning wasn’t even remotely on my mind. When I wrote about her cleaning as she waited for news, knowing that it was not in her nature, nor mine, I remember saying to Michael, “now THIS is fiction!”

But now Life is imitating Art.

Today I cleaned out my closet. I moved the cold weather things out and some more warm weather things in, but more so I actually started looking at my clothes in new, additional terms. In terms of cancer. Would this be comfortable to wear after a surgery? Will I feel cold and need cardigans even in July if I’m on chemo? Will those pants that are a wee bit tight on me fit me if I lose weight from being sick? Maybe I should keep the scarves up here instead of in the off season closet, I may need them for my head if/when my hair falls out. I moved the sports bras to the easier access drawer and put my expensive bras below. I made room for comfy granny panties.

Cancer has reorganized my life and my closet in one day.

Monday, April 27, 2009

breast cancer updates

I still have it -- sorry, lame.

This is what I know: It is invasive, that's what "infiltrating" meant, as I feared. It means that the cancer has already grown beyond the layer of cells where it started.

Best case scenario right now would be for the cancer to still be remaining in the breast only, not spread beyond into the lymph nodes.

Second best scenario would be that if it did spread to the lymph nodes it didn't go anywhere else in my body.

I don't know if there is a third best scenario, what it would be, nor do I want to know at this point.

Other things I need to know are is it ductal or lobular (ductal would be WAY better) it estrogen receptive (don't want that***) and the other thing I don't want is for it to be HER2.

***(I've since learned that being estrogen receptive is actually better, FYI)

At least I think.

Much of the answers I need will come after surgical biopsy, some with MRI, Cat Scans, bloodwork.

I have a few appointments. There are two kinds of oncologists, one is medical, one is surgical. I have appts w/both kinds, a couple of each, all between the 8th and 15th.

Incidentally, my husband and mother have been doing all the phone calls and appt making, I've been doing the Googling. I am mostly in accomplishment mode, not thinking beyond the tasks at hand.

My 7 1/2 yo daughter knows everything, she's been talked to about the possibilities all along. She is an angel and a trooper and so amazing I can't even put it into words. She takes such good care of her little brother, always, not just now. We call her "Mamacita" meaning little mother, because she's been like a second mother to him since the day he was born.

Heck with it, I'm tired of saying DD, DS, & DH -- my daughter is Megan, my son is Daniel and my husband is Michael.

What gets me most right now is Daniel. He's only 2 1/2, he still nurses. There's little doubt there will be chemo involved, I will have to wean him, ASAP. Everyone keeps saying that he'll be fine, he's older than most, yada, yada. See, I practice Attachment Parenting, I believe in child directed weaning. (yes, I'm one of those devoted crunchy granola moms)...I know in the scheme of all this weaning him seems minor, but to me it is heartbreaking. Every time I think of telling him no, of refusing him...

I've got to change the subject.

All of your thoughts, wishes and prayers have meant so much to me, I just felt like coming here and updating. Some of this might make little sense, but it's what I've got.

I will try to keep may be sporadic or it may be prolific, I honestly can't tell right now how I'll feel from one minute to the next.

Thanks for being here.

I have breast cancer

I know little else. The doctor phoned half an hour ago, said it was bad news, it was carcinoma.

DH went and got the report from her (she's just down the road a bit) and in looking at it now few if any words are familiar from my minimal research. There are phrases like "Infiltrating Mammary Carcinoma" and "Pseudolactational hyperplasia is focally present". They sound important, informative, but I don't know they mean.

We are making phone calls. Things are being faxed. Appointments will follow.

I am in shock. We are all in shock. Right now all I care about is living for my babies. My babies, dear God.

Okay, I can't write anymore. I'm sorry.

I'll post when I can.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Still no news, just thoughts

Of course there's no news, it's Sunday. Tomorrow should be the day.

Believe it or not, today I am rather calm, relatively speaking. I have been preparing myself a little for the various possibilities, the different types of results, researching kinds of breast cancer diagnosis as well as benign conditions. I think facing it a little has actually helped. Don't get me wrong, I'm still capable of sheer terror at the drop of a hat, but I have some nanoseconds of clarity mixed in here and there

For most of this loooooong month I didn't want to know anything specific about cancer possibilities -- just picture me with my fingers in my ears going "la, la, la, la, la, I can't hear you!" But by nature (once I get past major anxiety) I am a researcher, a seeker...I like to know things. So eventually that curious side of my brain finally kicked in and I've begun to learn a little. Mind you, it's a smattering of surface info at this point, but at least perhaps I'll understand some basic terminology if I need to.

All this is to say that I've come to realize this may not necessarily be a good news vs. bad news scenario. Like alot of things in life (most in fact) there's much gray area here. Naturally I'm hoping with every fiber of my being for the pure white glory of something totally benign. But I do also sincerely doubt it would be the complete opposite, like the utter blackness of "you have only months to live." I feel pretty good so that seems unlikely to me, intuitively speaking, you know?

As to that whole huge area in between those two polar opposite possibilities? We'll see. Some of it sounds like a brief ordeal in the scheme of life that could be endured with a secure happy ending, some of it not so much. Shades of gray.

So, these are my rambling thoughts on a Sunday...the day before knowing something.

DH and I went out, we ate, we drank red wine, we shopped (not in that order, lol) and we laughed some. I haven't cried as much today.

Oh, and it was also in the 90's here -- hot as midsummer! Thus the flowy summer outfit. I decided to take a picture, just because.

Finally, I want to end this post with heaps of gratitude. I cannot sufficiently express, there are no words big or grand or adequate enough to convey my deep thankfulness to everyone who has virtually held my hand through this long ordeal. My heart is full.

I will post tomorrow as soon as I know. Till then.....

Friday, April 24, 2009

UPDATE: No news

No news yet.

Let me say that reading all of your comments to my last post had me laughing -- something I SOOO much needed...thank you, deeply from the bottom of my heart! Each and every one of you is priceless.

The biopsy itself was not that least what I can remember clearly -- I used my Xanax, shall we say, liberally. My breast hurts a little, but it's not even enough to take pain meds, and trust me, I'm a baby so it really isn't bad.


(What is a little painful and also rather disturbing is that I have to pump & dump the milk from that breast both in order to preserve my supply and to make sure I don't get engorged. But because of what they did the milk is mixed with blood -- to the point it looks like I'm pumping blood. It's not a pleasant sight emotionally.)


Unfortunately in my Xanax induced haze I asked some questions. I should have left them unasked and continuted in the "distraction & denial" approach. The reason there is this degree of concern over the lumps is that not only are they definitively not cysts but they are irregular shaped -- generally not a good sign.

I wish I didn't know that.

I asked the doctor several times, like a ridiculous amount of times, "but they could still be benign, right?" to which she SLOWLY replied they could, yes. But each and every time she also hastened to add that it was VERY important for them to be treated seriously because of their shape, blah, blah, blah.

So, either she was trying to prepare me for the worst, or she was afraid that if this initial biopsy showed them as benign I wouldn't follow up and have them removed and further biopsied.

As if.

Where am I at now? I am hanging out in sweats, watching TV with the kids, eating all kinds of junk food and taking Xanax to sleep. And yes, crying on and off. DH is waiting on me hand and foot, taking the kids outside when I've had enough and generally being the amazing saint he already is.

I will post the minute I hear ANYTHING -- but I'm thinking now it probably won't be till Monday.

Wish I could wrap my arms around each and every one of you and give you all a big fat hug, thanks again for all the wonderfully witty, cute and utterly loving comments yesterday. Keep those collective fingers crossed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Call me Bitch for luck

Tomorrow is biopsy day.

It's more than very doubtful that I'll find out any info...but I'm still a nervous wreck. I suffer from anxiety attacks, albeit infrequently now, but medical procedures are practically a guaranteed trigger. I've got my trusty Xanax for the event, but in the meantime I'm on edge.

Which brings me to the strange post title.

See, when DH and I were going thru infertility there were lots of medical tests and procedures on the course of that journey that, if I described them to you, would sound like sadistic torture methods designed by an evil, and misogynistic, enemy dictator.

Perhaps I'm weird, but sometimes when on the verge of tears all it takes is a nice gesture, like a sympathetic look or the squeeze of my hand, and that sends me completely over the edge into uncontrollable crying.

On one of our many long drives to NYC for a torture session, er, I mean fertility doc appt, DH was being very sweet to me, trying to offer comfort and make me feel better. I was on the edge, ready to burst into tears any second, and so I screamed at him, "Stop being so damn nice to me, will ya!" To which, my mild mannered and gentle-hearted husband replied, without missing a single beat,

"Okay, Bitch."

I turned to look at him, hardly believing my ears, and he was grinning at me with a twinkle in his eye. I burst out laughing. It was just what I needed.

Since then, whenever I've had to face something big and anxiety provoking that joke has become our private way of being supportive, a loving shorthand.

So, my blogger friends, I need all the help I can get now. Call me Bitch for luck, okay?

PS: I may not post again until Friday...but I will certainly post if I find something out before then, rest assured. Allegedly the results will be available by sometime on Monday at the latest.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

On waiting

I discovered the first lump late at night on April 1st, the second & third lumps the next day. I was a little anxious, but yet I really did mostly believe it was nothing at that point. Still, I showed up on my doctor's doorstep when her office staff got there the next day, April 2nd, not even wanting to bother with the phone in order to get a prescription for a mammogram ASAP.

However "ASAP" is a relative term, medically speaking.

The soonest appointment for the mammogram (and subsequent ultrasound) that I could get was a week later. The rest, if you've been reading this blog, is history.

By the time this is over it will have taken 4 weeks, almost a month from discovering the lumps till getting the initial biopsy results. A month. A flippin' MONTH!!!

Time = torture.

No one, no woman should have to go thru this kind of waiting for an answer to a question like this. A week, maybe even 10 days to allow for a reasonable amount of bureaucracy...but this, this is beyond ridiculous. And the sad thing is I live in a metropolitan area and we have great medical coverage. I can only imagine what other women might go thru who don't have my advantages.

This is a crime.

I have no pithy ending for this little rant, no clever wisdom. I'm just really, really tired and really, really stressed and really, really want answers.

In the meantime, as if I have a choice, I am hanging on.

Will post on biopsy day, Wednesday, till then....

Friday, April 17, 2009

Distraction and denial

I have a doctor appt today, nothing big, just going to my regular doc to pick up the biopsy prescription. Even still I'm really nervous. She'll no doubt do an exam and I'm just afraid she'll feel something that somehow indicates the news won't end up being good -- not very realistic, I know, but at the moment I'm in a mode of denial and I'd like to safely stay that way until it's totally over and I have the final results. I have an active enough imagination.

Anyway, after the appt I will be in MUCH need of distraction in order to slip back into said denial, so we may go out to eat (and drink) -- Mom's watching the kids again.

And further continuing in my on going pursuit of distraction: did my hair curly and felt up to putting a wee bit of effort into choosing an outfit. I've never worn the jacket before on the blog, it's from (where else) Target and I bought it last year.

Thanks again (and again & again) to everyone for being so loving and supportive -- it's more help than you can imagine.

See ya Monday.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Style during stressful times

Before we went out on Sunday I had DH snap a photo. I almost didn't, but my daughter asked me why we haven't been taking pix and I really didn't have an answer for her. Then I got to thinking about how style has been the last thing on my mind...and thus this post was born.

My mother comes up nearly every Sunday to watch the kids for a precious few hours so DH and I can go out. Since DH is home I can take my time getting ready without kids clamoring for my attention. On a typical lazy Sunday morning, cup of tea in hand, there’s a pleasant feeling when staring into the closet and thinking about what I shall wear. The possibilities are open to me and the day ahead is fresh and still unspent.

Needless to say I’ve had a lot on my mind and fashion hasn’t been at the forefront of my thoughts. So this Sunday was a bit different. I barely looked into my closet and quickly grabbed a top, then a cardigan, with very little consideration.

The point is this: even tho I put practically no thought into what I threw on my back, when I looked in the mirror I actually looked fine, none the worse for wear. This made me realize my wardrobe works pretty well, and when need be, effortlessly so.

My outfits are simple and practical, perhaps not always adventurous but they do match my casual lifestyle. The shapes and colors are basically flattering and all of it seems to go together, very mix and match.

I now have a wardrobe that functions for me when I can’t possibly deal with thinking about clothes.

How often in life do we get crazy busy or majorly distracted? I remember other times when it was a struggle to figure out what to wear during those stressful periods, and the last thing one needs when under duress is more struggle. This was so much nicer, a moment of calm; of needed mindlessness.

I guess what I’m driving at is that this is yet another way developing a personal style can impact our lives. I feel pretty crappy, but it’s nice to not add to that by also feeling like I totally look it. And when navigating the stressful times in life, every little bit helps.

Yet another discovery on this journey.

Thanks for listening…see ya soon!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Update: keep on keeping on

Good Monday morning, I hope everyone that celebrates it had a lovely Easter weekend. DH and I went out Sunday as usual, my mother watched the kids. A few places were open so we had lunch and went to Borders.

We spent last Friday trying to get me a sooner appointment for the needle biopsy -- so far to no avail. I've got two more places to try...but it's not looking good.

Two weeks wait it is then.

If you'd asked me last Thursday or Friday if I could make it that long I would have thought you were nuts and probably lapsed into hysterical crying, again. But over the weekend I grew marginally more calm and resigned. I'm still crying at the drop of a hat, but it's at least a little bit less over the edge.

For the meantime I'm going to keep as busy as I feel like, write what and when I feel like (kids depending) and generally hang on as best I can till the 22nd. It's now less than 10 days away, meaning I could have the preliminary results by Friday the 25th, worst case scenario the following Monday the 28th.

I can do this, right?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hurry up and wait

I had these pictures from last Sunday and was planning to post them today. I decided why not – we are happy and beautiful and maybe if I can focus on that, even if for just a few seconds here and there, than it will help with the waiting.

The waiting – argh, yet another round of hurry up and wait with our lovely American medical system…been here before. I got an appointment for the needle biopsy, the first step before the surgical one, for two weeks from now. TWO WEEKS? I will need a truckload of tranquilizers to get thru two weeks.

The good news, well, relatively speaking, is that the results from the needle biopsy will be had in 2-3 business days…so once I get the appointment I’ll know when I will know…something.

So my task for today is to make phone calls, to find somewhere to take me sooner. Like yesterday would be good, lol.

I cannot say it enough, how much all your support and well wishes have meant to me and my family. My DH thinks you all are the best bunch of folks ever (me too!!!!) Thank you really does seem so small, but it will have to do. Thank you.

I will keep updating in some manner, promise.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bad mammogram

I found a lump in my breast a week ago, then two more the next day.

Today I had a mammogram and ultrasound. This picture of me was taken before I left. I had DH take it because I believed I would be told that the lumps were some sort of plugged milk duct (am still nursing my 2yo) or perhaps a cyst. They are neither. This picture was taken before I knew that. Before I was told that I would need a biopsy and surgery -- the lumps are large enough that they must be removed, regardless of what the needle biopsy says, and further biopsied once they are.

I know that this could very well turn out to be nothing. I'm hopeful that will be the case. I'm visualizing coming back here in a few weeks and saying, wow, that felt like a close one, but yay it was only...

But I'm also thinking of all the possibilities for the worst -- who wouldn't? I have young children. My baby, he's two but he's still my baby, is still nursing, children need their mom to be healthy and around for years and years to come. I know that I sound dramatic. I know what I would say to someone who was going thru this. I would tell them that these things turn out to be nothing more often than people realize. I also know sometimes they don't. In 2007 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She's been doing well, but it's been, well, you know.

I'm sorry to be so morose. I am feeling very morose. Maybe I shouldn't post this but I'm going to. I don't know when or how I will be posting here -- I do promise to check in and keep everyone updated. And I've written a whooooole bunch of poems so I'll have some stuff for the other blogs no doubt. Kinda wish I didn't. Writer's block doesn't sound so bad to me now.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

All about me

Tag, I'm it!

The lovely and talented Mervat from the clever blog, The Writing Instinct, has tagged me. Here's how it goes:

1. Respond and rework. Answer the questions on your blog, replace one question you dislike with a question of your own invention; add a question of your own.

2. Tag eight other un-tagged people.

What is your current obsession?

Blogging :)

Good fika place? (That would be coffee to us non-Swedes)

My dining table, first thing in the morning. All the better if I can manage to get up before the kids & DH and be alone with my notebook and pen in front of me, waiting to see what thoughts pop into my head, drinking coffee and staring out my window.

Do you nap a lot? No, if I nap I have trouble falling asleep at night…I am prone to insomnia.

Who was the last person you hugged? My children, both at once, while sitting with them on the sofa watching Thomas the Train.

What’s for dinner? Chickpeas w/spinach, tomatoes and garlic, maybe over brown rice -- it was delish :)

What was the last thing you bought? Aside from food, a waterproof tote bag for my books

What are you listening to right now?

The sound of my kids gleefully running back and forth from one end of the house to the other, getting their ya-ya's out before bedtime.

What is your favourite weather?

I like it cool, early spring or fall, and I like gray days – not rainy, just soft gray. Everything looks brighter against a gray sky.

What’s on your bedside table?

I don’t have a bedside table, but there are bookshelves nearby. On top is a glass bowl filled with bracelets, an alarm clock & sound machine, and a mirror resting against the wall. The shelves are filled with books.

Say something to the person/s who tagged you.

Mervat, I’m enjoying getting to know you via your blogs SOOO much! Your writing is so rich and layered, and I keep poking around and reading back posts, always finding lovely little gems. Thanks for tagging me :)

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you want it to be?

That’s tough. It would probably be in Wellfleet or Truro, Cape Cod MA, but I could see living in a small city too, some sort of brownstone or townhouse in a quaint neighborhood.

Favorite vacation spot? Cape Cod, see above.

Name the things you can’t live without.

Well, my DH & kids aren’t things, but I sure couldn’t live without them. In terms of objects…books, my computer, cardigans, coffee, white wine, valerian, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, oh, and chocolate. Did I mention chocolate?

What would you like to have in your hands right now? A finished manuscript for my first novel!

What is your favourite tea flavour?

I go through phases with flavors, but my all time fave is regular run of the mill Tetley with lots of milk and sugar the way my grandmother used to make it for me. Although now I use soymilk and Stevia.

What would you like to get rid of? All the residual clutter in my basement, anxiety, and about 10 lbs.

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? Truthfully? For an hour I would just like a glass of wine and either some alone time with my husband, or with my computer to write ;)

What did you want to become as a child?

I commented on this topic on another blog (the blue kimono) recently, but I do remember wanting to “make books” as a child and writing down little stories. I would fold them up into booklets and make construction paper covers for them. I wish I still had them.

What do you miss? (This is Belette Rouge's question)

Being able to experience empty silence, without anxiety.

What are you reading right now? I’m almost done with a novel by Roxana Robinson, “This is my Daughter” and I also have been skipping around in a couple books on writing.

What do you fear the most? (Andrea’s question)

I'm a thrombophiliac, so I fear having a stroke and being incapacitated. I don't fear death, much, but I don't like the idea of being an invalid, or not being able to pursue my passions, or most of all not being essentially "me".

This is the one I (Kayleigh) changed: What piece of clothing would you most like to own that you don’t have?

I would like to have comfortable, non-leather, turquoise blue wedge platform sandals. That or the perfect green, cotton, short-sleeved cardigan for summer.

Admit one thing you feel awful about. Once you have written it down, you are no longer allowed to feel bad. My (Mervat's) question

Since I can’t feel bad about it once I write it, I’ll choose something fairly innocuous. I had to reschedule a doctor’s appointment and did it at a time usually reserved for one on one time with my daughter. I’ll make it up to her, so I should stop feeling bad about it…right….now!

Here’s my (Kayleigh’s) added question: What have you let go of?

My own answer: perfection.

I tag the following bloggers, though I can't say for sure they haven't already been tagged at least to my immediate knowledge at the very minute I write this, they haven't been:

Shallow Coffee, notSupermum, Udarata Kella, Style Klutz , My Shenanigans , I need a makeover , Already Pretty, Africana 's Wardrobe Diary

Rainy Days and Mondays

Ok, I know it's not Monday -- but I took these pictures yesterday, so it still counts. They are both bad pictures of a good coat, so I'm hoping that the two added together will equal one decent view.

The trench was bought at Target last summer, off the clearance rack for about 15 bucks or so. It is a lovely peachy coral color -- the blurry picture is more true to the real color than the clear shot w/the flash.

There's something very cheerful about a bright trench like this on a dark rainy day...helps you remember that pretty spring flowers need those torrential April showers. Plus, I'm very easy to spot -- no chance of me getting lost in the fog, lol!

The umbrella was from Target too, and the waterproof tote bag is from Borders (where the rest of my money goes that doesn't get spent at Target, lol!)

Have a peachy keen day -- see ya tomorrow!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Just in time

Egads, busy day, very late to get this posted!

Right after we snapped this photo the torrential downpours let loose -- and it's supposed to continue until late tomorrow. My timing was good, tho, because I managed to get to the market and back, AND lug in all the groceries first. Oh, and I got the mail, too. A perfect (and dry) trifecta :D

The blouse is from Kohls and I love, love, love the watery blue & green colors. The cardigan is from NY&Co, the jeans from Target and the plum Sofft Maryjanes are secondhand.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend replete with perfect timing!!!

PS: Busy day coming on Monday, might not get a picture up until Tuesday. See ya then :D

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Why am I here?

A recent post over at the thought provoking blog, “the blue kimono”, really struck me. The delightful Sallymandy posed the seemingly simple question, “Why do people post photos of their clothing?” What struck me in particular was that I didn’t really have a clear answer at first, yet I’ve been doing just that for almost 5 months now.

I guess my own answer to Sallymandy’s question all started with, believe it or not, watching an episode of “What Not To Wear”. I’d been aware of the show’s existence prior, but never actually seen it. I had made assumptions about it, though…it was sexist, mean, touted unrealistic ideals of beauty, focused too much on women’s appearances and there was quite enough of that already, etc. I've blogged about how I lost alot of weight a few times before. Yet I still didn’t always feel so hot about how I looked. Suffice is to say my body image was severely out of whack and the last thing I needed was some stupid show to make me feel worse!

However, when I happened to watch the program I found something unexpected. Bottom line -- they didn’t really criticize the person’s body, just how they’d been dressing it, how they presented it. And it wasn’t about trends or keeping up with fads, it wasn’t about being some slave to fashion. It was actually the opposite, it was about making a woman’s own particular body look good, celebrating her positive features and making her feel better about her appearance, which inevitably made her feel better about herself.

It may sound grandiose, but it seemed to me that dressing well could be an act of empowerment, and it belonged to every woman, no matter her size, age or wallet capacity.

That was HUGE for me.

Size didn’t matter, fit did. My body is what it is, and it was bound to change throughout my life anyway…all of our bodies change, our appearance is never static. I just needed to find the most flattering clothes for my individual shape and I could take some control over what I saw in the mirror. Whether we like it or not we each make a statement about ourselves based on how we appear, without even saying a word. Unless we live in a cave, that matters. It's not about being perfect or matching some arbitrary ideal. It's about attitude and reflections. How we present ourselves speaks volumes about how we feel and what kind of person we are. The good news is the impression we make is actually up to us.

So, the journey began. During the course of this process I discovered blogs, blogs by real women with real (and beautiful) bodies, wearing real clothes. They inspired me more than words can express. They continue to do so, every day – and I know for every one of them there are dozens more inspirational women out there finding strength in expressing themselves via their clothing choices in a world that can, sadly, twist that act into something negative…yet they, each in their own way, keep it real and beautiful.

I realized that if I could gain all of that from some TV show and a handful of blogs that maybe others could benefit from seeing me go through my particular journey, knowing that I am just like them, a regular woman with “flaws” and body issues, just trying to dress myself to my best advantage as an act of self-love and empowerment.

And so here I am.

I want to deeply thank the wonderful Sallymandy for making me really think about all this and find some clarity for myself. What a great, poignant question she posed...there are no doubt many possible answers…each as diverse as the lovely mosaic of women’s individual styles.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Ha, made ya look -- April Fool's!

It's nice and sunny, no snow in the forecast :)

This gray Croft & Barrow shirt from Kohls is more of a winter one, so it's the last time I'll probably wear it till the fall. Spring is sometimes bittersweet, you have to say goodbye to seasonal clothing you've come to rely on frequently.

The aqua cardigan is from NY&Co, the pin was from an Etsy destash purchase and the heart locket was a gift from my mother.

The jeans are Target, the gray Maryjane Franco Sarto pumps are secondhand.

I hope everyone has a great day -- and that's no foolin :)