Dreams Never End

The optimistic pessimist

The “C” Word, pt. 1

It was two years ago when I personally heard the “c” word and it changed my life forever.

I don’t know if everyone is like me,but when I hear of someone’s misfortune  I try to analyze what my own reaction would be in the same lot.  In many ways this makes me very empathetic, but the flip side is feeling the need to be prepared for the worst.

Ah, that phone call.

“I am Dr. Idontknowyou, a radiologist at the clinic, and we have your test results, give me a call so we can discuss them.”

Actually, things had started several days beforehand.  I was adjusting my Fitbit on my bra and ran my hand across my breast, feeling, a lump?  That is what you think.  “Hmm, is that normal? Was that there before?”  And you keep feeling it and then you feel your other breast because surely if it seems the same on the other side, it is probably nothing.  But it doesn’t seem the same and you have put off that mammogram for seven years.  I called and made that appointment from work the next morning. I told them, “I found a lump”.

“When did you noticed it?”

“Umm, just last night, I think, I guess?”  They could get me in the next day.

I didn’t tell my husband or my daughters much, just that I was going in for “that mammogram” I had been putting off and “oh, I found a small lump but I’m sure that it’s probably nothing.”  Deep down though, there was a gnawing in my gut.

The Breast Center!  A remarkable area of my local clinic that caters to breast health issues.  Everyone there is fabulous.  From the receptionist, ultra-sound technician, mammogram technician, the nurses, the Dr’s, radiologists.  I visited with everybody that day.  And here I thought that I was just going for the dreaded mammogram.

Pam, was the expert nurse practitioner with a specialize degree in the breast.  You know those self-examines that we should do monthly?  She is the expert.  Can teach you how to do self-exam and is trained to find those lumps.  She found the lump I was talking about.

“Right here?  Is this the area you are referring to, that you felt the lump?”

“Yes, that is it.”  I thought, “It is real, Pam felt it too.”

“Well, this has much the feel of a cyst and I feel another smaller one here and here.  They can drain those and give you some relief, sometimes they come back but usually these are just cysts. Most lumps the women find end up not being cancer.”  Pam has wonderful bedside manners.

“Let’s send you over for an ultra-sound and your mammogram and we will have the Dr. meet with you after that.” reassured Pam.

“Okay, I can deal with a cyst”, I thought while waiting.  I wondered why she seemed a little stalled on that bottom area of my left breast?  I did’t feel anything there.  “Hmm.  Why is my stomach still gnawing?”

“There is a small shadow here, on your mammogram and that is not a cyst. Pam was able to feel a small ridge there and we can see it on both the ultra-sound and the mammogram.”  The radiologist informed me later.

“That’s right Pam said I would see the Dr. last thing.”

I was at the clinic for three hours.  Everyone was nice but I was tired and the place was closing down for the day.  I was given several pamphlets on breast cancer and Pam wrote down cancer.org, but advised me to stay off the internet for now. The last Dr. made an appointment for me to come in for a core needle biopsy and said she could drain the cysts at the time.  It wasn’t until days later when I was getting my phone call that I actually remembered what she said to me as we parted that day.

“I want you to know that this does concern me, and that is why we need to have the biopsy done.”  she paused waiting for my reaction.  Trying to gauge my thoughts.

“I don’t want you to be caught off guard.”  she said kindly.

“Oh,  okay.”  I was numb, I was tired and I just wanted to leave now and go and reassure my family that it was probably nothing.

I blocked out her words.

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JustLorelei67

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In the Middle

 

It will be a busy week.

I am a disciplinarian,  a bouncer, a problem solver, a nurse, a counselor, a mediator, a peacemaker, a shoulder to cry on, a mom; I am — a middle school Supervisory Paraprofessional! And every week is busy!

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This position found me. If someone had told me six years ago, I would be working in middle school, I would have unequivocally said “no way”.   My daughters had recently just made it out and we were all happy to have moved beyond those days.

My own middle school experience, actually called junior high back then, was fraught with broken hearts, insensitive friends, awkward body changes, drama and anxieties about my parent’s divorce.

Six years ago, I was working with preschoolers, before being bumped out of my position. I needed to take a position to keep my seniority within my school district. When the middle school supervisor spot opened, I accepted, but with much trepidation. Little did I know, I would be drawn to, and strangely addicted to, the microcosm of middle school.

I have witnessed students go from an immature, quiet, bookish six grader, to an outgoing, boisterous, disrespectful, blue-haired seven grader, to a self-assured, high-school-ready, mature eighth grader!  I swear it is like watching a science experiment. A real metamorphosis. Amazing!

There are things that are difficult. It is hard to see students be unkind to one another, it is difficult to see them make bad choices,  and six hours a day is not enough to change some of the challenges they face at home. There are many factors I have no control over .

But I love my job!  There is never a dull moment and the time goes by quickly.   I enjoy getting to know the students and interacting with them.  Remembering little details, how did the track meet go, how was the dance competition, did the presentation go alright, is your grandma out of the hospital? So many ways to get to know them and let them know I care.  I am lucky, I get to know my students and build a relationship with them for three years.

Some days I spend a lot of time disciplining, other days I can enjoy their joie de vivre.  I tell my students, ‘I am here to help you figure things out and to help you make good choices’. And at the end of the day, I hope that I can make a difference.

Be well!  JustLorelei67

 

 

 

 

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For The Love of Felines

I have known for many years that I am a cat person.  You know how some people are dog people, some are cat people and some people own both?  Growing up we always had pets; dogs, cats, fish, turtles, guinea pigs, even brine shrimp, a.k.a sea monkeys. The common thread throughout my life, whatever the circumstances? I have always had a good feline to celebrate and console my life’s ups and downs.

When I was very small, a buff colored female cat adopted us. She showed up at our doorstep and stayed for the next 20 years.  We named her, The Old Orange Cat. Sometimes we referred to her as the mother cat, although she never had kittens.   Friendly, furry, tough, good mouser, sweet, steadfast and loyal.   These memories of her cemented my love of cats.

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Sadly I don’t have access to a picture of her,   I found this image however, and it’s a good likeness!

Here are my current felines friends!

Screenshot_2015-09-02-05-34-37Friday – a.k.a., Frankie a.k.a, Big Frank  

Friday will turn sixteen in March and has a keen sense of reading our emotions.  He has been the poultice to many a broken hearts and dream throughout the years.  Many times his fur was tear-soaked as he comforted my daughters anxieties and fears. I think he has a sixth sense and seeks us out when we need him most.  Friday is a real sweet fellow. Recently, he’s slowed down with arthritis, but he is a love and we hope he will be around for a good while longer.

Snapchat--6804539087054573522  Chester – a.k.a, Chet, a.k.a. Boy

Chester is a young eleven years.  He has the energy of a kitten.  We rescued Chester from the animal shelter.  He is the “funny boy” in the house. Always getting into mischief, ending in some precarious situation. Sometimes perched in the crawl space between the upstairs and the basement or squished between the wall and the furnace. The term “curiosity killed the cat” fits well for Chester. Good thing he has nine lives!

Cats have been some of my most loyal friends. I’m an introvert, I spend a lot of quiet alone time. As of late, they make good writing buddies too!  Felines fit into my life purrfectly!

 

Cheers!  JustLorelei67

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Surprise Impressionism

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Water Gardens at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory – St. Paul, MN 2015

This is my favorite photograph that I captured last summer.  It was really only a snap but it turned out to be this lovely impressionist looking picture!  The way that the water rippled just right and the reflective image of the lily dancing on the pool. It reminds me of the impressionist painter Monet.  It’s the perfect picture to help chase away the winter doldrums

 

 

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A Puzzle of Games

Winter break is here and decided to take a break and work on a jigsaw puzzle.  The first time in many years.  I started it a couple of days ago and it is a great thing to do in between cleaning and errands.

I woke up this morning thinking about the puzzle.  The picture features classic board games and it is called “Games We Played”.  Here it is I am sure you will see some of your favorites in the picture.DSC_0374

A Puzzle of Games, isn’t that a great analogy of life? At the same time that we are trying to make the pieces fit we are also in the game.

What is Life  about?

Hands Down it’s the craziest Battleship Operation you’ll every man!

Happy Days will come, but many times it will be more like Roulette.

Life will not always be a Candyland or a Hi-Ho bowl of Cherry-O’s.  Instead, a series of Chutes and Ladders, somewhere Lost In Space only to end up in a Twister.

You may get caught in a Mouse Trap and not have a Clue.

Days spent being Sorry and Mad maybe stuck in a real Traffic Jam.

I think we’ve all been to a few Donkey Party‘s (don’t be an ass), just remember it’s all Spin the Bottle. It will take a lot of Concentration to assess the Risk in the Dating Game,  maybe you’ll bypass the Old Maid.

One day, however, when you’ve tired of flipping Tiddly Winks, you’ll toss a coin in the Wishing Well. Bingo!!! The Domino effect may occur!

Who knows if it’ll be a Dukes of Hazzard, a Jackson Five, or an H.R. Puffin Stuff kind of life?

At the end, Hands Down it is your Life, your Monopoly, your jigsaw puzzle!

 

Cheers and best of luck fitting your pieces together!

JustLorelei67

 

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Attitude Adjustment Day

Yesterday was a low  point for me.  Now it isn’t because it was Valentine’s Day, I am no hater, it is just that this was the day that the “mean reds” crept back into my mind.

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That feeling that the world is closing in on you and it really makes you feel hopeless. It is where the pessimist in me shows up. The anxiety is about all the things you cannot control in your life, but wish that you could.   In this day of social media we are reminded daily sometimes hourly of what others are accomplishing and winning at in life.  I think it really makes it difficult to perceive things in there actual state.  All things look rosy, it’s the way everyone wants to be portrayed.  Everyone posts their best! With even their worst looking pretty damn good!  Although I know this to be true, I have to say it does add to my mood of the “reds” and then of the “blues”.  This only adds fuel however, to the mad, sad, anxiety I am battling.  It is not the cause of it.  Today I decided, I need to come up with five things to be thankful for right now.  A different blog perhaps, I will be more forthcoming with what specifically is darkening the corners of my mind, but today these are the things I will focus on to adjust my thinking.

  • My feet have touched the floor for the day, which means I can choose to do something productive.
  • At this time I am cancer-free and have been for 1 1/2 years.
  • I have a warm house and food in my fridge.
  • Both of my parents are still living, as are my brother and two sisters.  I have a husband and two daughters.  Although family is a huge anxiety ridden stress, I wouldn’t want to not have any of them here.  With more time there can always be a change in them and in me too.
  • I am writing this blog on a Monday morning, when I would normally be headed to work but I have the week off for winter break.  I can get this attitude adjustment at the top of my week and maybe the rest will feel more hopeful.

For today I will remember to have a heart of thanksgiving.  If I can recite my list in my mind then my mood will come to pass.

Seeing Audrey Hepburn in the Gif made me smile!  I love Breakfast At Tiffany’s and any other movie of  Audrey Hepburns.

Be Well –

JustLorelei 67

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For The Kindness of Strangers

Today’s blogging challenge was suppose to be about my favorite vacation.  But I alas, while Skyping my daughter, who is studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I decided I needed to write about some of her adventure instead!

She has been abroad for two weeks getting used to Buenos Aires and her roommate. This past weekend she took a 12 hour bus ride to a lovely place called Mendoza.  Although she speaks Spanish pretty well, she had a bit of trouble when there was an issue with her travel arrangements and she ended up separated from her travel companions.  But for the kindness of strangers, first in the form of an elderly woman who asked if she was okay. And later a guy who spoke English fluently and gave her some advice on where to avoid and what to see while in Mendoza. They both told her that she should be entitled to get some of her bus money back because of the mistake and helped her at the station with filing a claim.

Eventually she met back up with her travel mates.  They enjoyed touring some vineyards, and hiking in the Andes Mountains.  The scenery is beautiful there and there’s beauty in the people as well.

Having your offspring so far away is off-putting to say the least.  With a language barrier,unfamiliar countryside and some botched plans, this could have been a recipe for disaster. But knowing that there are good, caring people all across this big world of ours, is encouraging. A bit of my confidence in mankind has been restored.

 Mendoza, Argentina

Boy, don’t you wish you were here?  Unless you are of course!

Cheers!  JustLorelei67

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What’s In Your Bag/Wallet?

One could only imagine what sorts of things I have stowed away in this purse. The bag itself, a Christmas gift from my brother.  The two animal decorations? The raccoon is a hand sanitizer holder, the panda, a lip gloss holder!  Shout out to Bath and Bodyworks for these cute accessories!

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And now for the goods……

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In no particular order –

  • Four pens, three black and one breast cancer awareness pink. I can’t use them all at once but let’s hope one of them will work when the time comes.
  • Okay this may be more than excessive but one lip pencil, three lipsticks and two lip glosses. Well, “on a bad day there is always lipstick”. Three chap sticks and one homemade pot of lip balm are also included. One might think I should carry a small side pack just to house the lip items! (shaking my head)
  • I have one eyeliner and one cover stick as well, I guess I know how my eyes and face measure up against my lip care.
  • One mirrored compact, so I can see to put all that lip stick on, you don’t want a mistake, when it comes to lipstick application!
  • Two pocket size hand creams. A hair pick.
  • There are two packs of gum one Dentyne Ice peppermint and one Extra bubble gum, both sugarless. And one pack of Listerine breath strips for the days when gum won’t cut it.
  • In the drug and medical area I have one large bottle of Advil for really big headache days, one Zyrtec for allergy days, one bottle of eye drops for the “I was up too late writing my blog” days, one tube of neosporin for the “oh drat, I just cut myself” days and one tamoxifen tablet for the “oh drat, I am at work and forgot to take my cancer therapy drug before I left!
  • My billfold, sunglasses, reading glasses and car keys.  I can’t think of anything that interesting here except I have a rhinestone lanyard for my keys in hopes of not misplacing them.  However, I had lost them the other morning and they were actually in the ignition yes, all night.  This is really helpful if you intend to have your car stolen by the local night prowler.  Not so great when you are running late and are crazed trying to find your keys!
  • The papers I have are a hotel receipt from a few weeks back when my oldest daughter headed off to Argentina to study abroad.  I also have a metro ticket stub from the bus/train ride we took to the airport.  And a restaurant receipt from TGIF’s from the dinner we had the night before she flew out.
  • That pretzel card thing is some kind of app you can get from The Pretzelmaker,  a chain of mall stores that well, make pretzels.  I don’t know why I would need the app.  And now as I am remembering they shorted us one pretzel when we were there last time.
  • And finally, I have a thank you note scribbled on some torn notebook paper from one of the students I work with that reads as written:

Thank you so much your the nicest person that I’ve ever met hope u have a wonderful Christmas. Your always there for me your just about the only one I always listen to and trust of course.

Thank you so much

A sweet note to reread on crazy days at school.

I have since moved the thoughtful note to my keepsake journal, along with the metro stub.  I should downsize that lip stick assortment but for now put everything neatly back in the bag.

A very good way to clean out my bag and discover some finds too.  It was my ninth blog post theme.  I wonder what is in your bag or wallet? Care to share?

Cheers,

JustLorelei67

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Five Current Goals

This will have to be written at top speed for it is late. I have been baking Valentine cookies all day and suddenly it is nearly bedtime, but I don’t want to miss one of my 30 day blogging challenges.  Thank goodness it basically is a list again today!

5 Goals 

  • I have started to tidy and unclutter my home using the Konmari technique.  The principles in the book, “the life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo are what I am following and it should take me about six months to complete the tidying and simplifying . This will be a blog topic in the future.
  • In 2016, I would like to complete four 5k’s and a 10k as well.  I had surgery at the end of 2015 and have yet to get back to running.  I plan to hit the road by the end of February.  Hoping I can condition up fairly quickly, since I was able to run right up until the day of surgery.
  • During the summer I will find a job.  I work in the public school system which really is great but when summer comes it is tough on the pocketbook to say the least.  So I will find something to fill the gap in paychecks.
  • I would love to take some online courses through our local college and be that lifelong learner.
  • Continuing to write in my blog long after my 30 day challenge is over. I would like to possibly start another blog as well. In it I would write reviews about random items that I might find at the store to test and critique.

Okay, well there you have it folks, my quickest entry ever!  And it isn’t very fancy either. I think I better throw in a picture to pep it up a bit!  And then I must sleep because middle schoolers wait for no one. And they will be there tomorrow with their nonstop energy.  I will blog about working at a middle school one day as well.

Cheers! JustLorelei67

 

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