Friday, February 13, 2009

2267 In the Desert

Friday, February 13, 2009

Met with The Man last night, at the halfway point. Dinner, karaoke, TV, etc. He didn't have to be at work until 11 am, so we had a relatively relaxed morning. He left at 9:45ish, which should have been in good time for the drive. I potted around a bit and left at 10:30, and while I was still in the parking lot my phone rang. He was sitting in a traffic jam on the NYS Thruway, no more than 15 minutes away. Overturned SUV ahead. Poor guy. Relaxation was shortlived.

I got home and discovered that I have no water. I think the well pump died, or maybe the pressure tank has blown. The circuit breaker is fine, so it's not a simple fix. I'll have to get a plumber in. Somehow I decided today was Saturday, so I didn't call anyone. Phooey.

I bought a few jugs of water to drink, and to flush, and to heat on the stove for a sponge bath in the shower stall. It works. That's what we do around here when the power is out for a few days. In the past I've even melted snow for washing and for the beasties.

Tomorrow I'll be volunteering at a tax clinic again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

2266 Passing the Boob

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I took Miss Thunderfoot to the vet's today for her yearly checkup and immunizations (three months late). She went into the carrier with no problem, objected only a little in the car, and during the 30 minutes in the waiting room she curled up in the carrier and went to sleep.

In the examining room, however, she spat and slapped (without her claws out), and bit (gently, but threateningly), and growled so much the vet couldn't hear her heart. She's usually very calm. When I happened to mention that she hates other cats, especially males, the vet laughed. He said he had four adult male shelter cats in the next room, scheduled for neutering, and she probably smelled them.

Dr. M. was also amused that Thunder was 11 lbs 11 oz on her last visit, which happened to be on 11/11/07, and as of this month, she's 11 years and 11 months old. Lottery anyone?

I was aware that she'd been losing weight. She's now down to 8 lbs 9 oz, but the vet isn't worried because that's actually a healthier weight for her size, and he's attributing it to Jasper's exercising her more. I don't know. I'm going to keep an eye on her weight.


I went to the doctor's office and got copies of all the breast reports. Then I went to the radiologist's and picked up my old films, and film and CD of Friday's Mammogram and ultrasound.

This is beginning to look like a game of "pass the buck".

The radiologist says there's no change from the last mammogram (2002), and no abnormalities are seen. Oddly, they still say my breasts are dense. They don't feel so dense any more.... Then after all the "no problems" comments, it says "Assessment: Incomplete; need additional imaging evaluation. Recommendation: Ultrasound..."

The ultrasound report says "No ultrasound abnormality is seen.... Assessment: Negative.... Recommendation: Surgical consultation of the left breast ... decision to aspirate/biopsy a palpable mass should be based on clinical grounds."

There IS NO PALPABLE MASS! All of this is saying there's nothing wrong! But no one wants to take the responsibility to say "There's nothing wrong." They're just passing me up the line. The surgeon gets the big bucks, so let him say there's nothing wrong. I hope he isn't scared, too, or I'll end up with needle aspiration of a perfectly healthy nipple!

I'm even more certain now that it was just an infection in a duct.

Oh, yeah, the culture results were "Normal saprophytic flora ..." which is also consistent with an infection that the immune system has stomped.


I don't know if they did something different this time, or if the technology has improved since 2002, but these scans are so very much clearer. They used to stick a bead on the tip of the nipple, and then on the films, there was a large blank area between the bead and the start of the image. Now there is no bead, and you can actually see the nipple. Amazing. You can even see the skin around the edges.

The bright spots are calcium. Not a problem when they're isolated and scattered. One of them is a star shape (second view down). I don't like that one, just on principal (actually, it's some kind of marker, and it worries me because I don't know why it's there).

If you look where the nipple is in the third one down, there's a shaded part inside that looks almost like the nipple is inverted. I'm going to ask the surgeon about that. What is it, and why doesn't it look like that on the other views? The "chicklets" at the top in that one were exactly the same in the 2002 scans, so whatever they are, they're ok.

If you click on the scans, you'll get a much larger (life sized!) more detailed view.


2265 Quote

Roman proverb: Money is like sea water. The more you drink the thirstier you become.

2264 Breast Mystery

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I called the doctor first thing this morning, and talked to one of the women at the desk. She said the mammo results were back, and it was "within normal limits". She didn't say anything about the ultrasound, or the discharge culture/microexam, but I'll be picking up the reports and the CD later today, so I'll read it myself then.

Nurse: Dr. D. wants you to see Dr. W.
Me: Dr. W? Who's Dr. W?
Nurse: He's a surgeon. He specializes in the breast.
Me: Why do I need to see him?
Nurse: Well, you had another issue, with the nipple, right?
Me: Oh.

I still think that was just an infection in the duct. Since it discharged, there has been no further swelling or tenderness. It's perfectly normal now. But I guess I have to see the surgeon, because if I don't, well, that's just the way things work.

As far as I'm concerned, the scare is over.


Later -
I just looked over previous posts, and I guess I didn't describe what made me take my nipple to the doctor.

Here's the story.

I normally wear a sleep bra, because I sleep on my stomach or left side, and I can pinch myself easily (usually on the left), and that will hurt for days. But when I'm with The Man, I don't wear it. And he knows not to pinch. Gently gently.

When I was with him in mid-January, I figured I must have hurt me, because the left nipple was tender off and on for about three weeks. Then Wednesday of last week it got extremely tender and sore even when nothing was touching it. The nub was swollen and red. The swelling and tenderness was just in the nipple. There was no problem around or under it. I lifted it to look, and it spurted a thick milky fluid, followed by a drop of blood from a single duct. Looked like an infection to me, and I didn't want it to go deeper, so I called the doctor, and they got me in the next day.

Of course, by the time I got to the doctor, it looked a lot better. The redness and tenderness was gone, there was only a tiny difference in size, and we had a heck of a time getting a bit of discharge for the microscope. Which discharge, by the way, was clear, except for the last little bit, which was blood-tinged.

Dr. D. did a manual exam, of course, and she said the left breast was a bit "ropy" on the outer side. I'm very familiar with my breasts, and I can't feel ANY difference between the left and right, so I don't know what she's talking about.

She scheduled a mammogram and ultrasound for the next day, last Friday.

I don't think the ropiness is anything. Too much coffee will cause that. It's probably just ducts toughening up. And I think the nipple thing was just an infection.


I've never had any pain with mammograms. Squishing doesn't seem to hurt, and before menopause my breasts were unusually dense, so they squished them hard.

Friday, the first two (horizontal and 45 degree angle) didn't hurt. But then she did a straight up-and-down one that I'd never seen before - and that one had me gritting my teeth.

Then the woman with the ultrasound went to town on me. She pushed that thing up and down my breasts like she was trying to bulldoze a hill flat.

Both the girls are now really sore. They ache all the way from under the arms to the breastbone, even when nothing's touching them.


Later update -
Appointment with surgeon is February 27. They put me on a cancellation wait list, so maybe sooner.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

2263 Estate Lawyer

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Today I saw the lawyer who worked with me to settle Jay's estate. I took her the tiny bit of paper I had been sent from Jay's father's estate lawyer, and told her the few things I knew about what was going on. She was aghast. There's a whole bunch of stuff that was supposed to have happened before other things happened, papers to be signed, accountings I should have seen, and so on. She was surprised that all I was sent of the will is the one page that had my name on it, so we don't even know what the date on that page is.

I went to her only because it's looking like the sisters are playing fast and loose, and their lawyer (who was the one complicit in the rewriting of the will when she knew his diagnosis) doesn't seem to know the rules and procedures. So my lawyer is going to make sure they follow the rules, and I'm not cheated. She is going to find a lawyer in Rochester to represent me, through her.

Um, to review - after Jay died, the father-in-law updated his will so that I got Jay's share of his (the FIL's) estate. Before he died, Jay had asked his father to not forget me in his will. Jay had been named as FIL's executor, so he changed it so that I was named as a co-executor with the eldest sister. The eldest sister lives in Virginia, and the other two sisters didn't want to be executors, so I, being in NY and closest to Rochester, was a logical choice.

Then the husband of the youngest sister found out that I was going to get the same share as his wife (in other words, twice as much as HE would "get"), and apparently he flipped out. AFTER the father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, the two younger sisters took him back to the lawyer and had the will rewritten, cutting my share in half, and naming themselves as executors. The eldest sister and I didn't find out about this later will until after the FIL died. Big surprise.

The eldest sister was furious. At that point, the younger sisters said yes, it was after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and yes, he was not competent then and everyone knew it, but if anyone fought this will, they'd spent every cent of the estate defending it and no one would get anything, so there.


At first I was angry that they'd do something so underhanded, then I decided it didn't matter that much, and ok, as merely Jay's spouse, half a share is probably quite fair.

But then they started pulling crap. Nothing in the house was appraised or even listed. They just took the good stuff home and threw the crap away. They bought loads of new furniture (sofas, vases, lamps, dining room furniture, bed coverings, curtains, throw pillows, coffee and side tables, rugs) to show the house, charged the new furniture to the estate, and then took that home, too. The house was sold to a neighbor for about a third of its value, or at least that's the number I was told. Travel costs for them and their grown children to attend the funeral are being charged to the estate. All kinds of things are being charged to the estate. They're raiding it. I would not be at all surprised to find that they're paying themselves the maximum executor stipend, too.

So whole bunches of money is being drained from the estate and going into their pockets as "costs", and my portion, which would be out of what's left over, is getting smaller and smaller as a result.

I want to see the final accounting, and my lawyer is going to get it for me, and we're going to raise hell where necessary.


After my doctor's appointment last Thursday and the "emergency" mammogram and ultrasound Friday, they told me that my doctor's office would call me with the results on Wednesday. Tomorrow.

The doctor (not a nurse) called the house at 4:45 today, while I was at the lawyer's office, and I didn't get home until 5:00, after her office had closed, so I couldn't call back. Her message simply said to call her.

Is that a good or bad sign? That she called, rather than a nurse? That she called so close to closing, a day before expected? Like there was no time to waste or something?

Aaaaaaaaaaagh! I hadn't been at all worried, but now I am.

Monday, February 09, 2009

2262 Is It Monday Already?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Nothing much happening. Dropped some stuff off at Daughter's on Saturday. Hercules was on a group hike, and Daughter was in south Jersey kick-starting her father after his Thursday gall bladder surgery, so I just left the stuff on the porch. Haven't heard from her yet. Strange.

Nothing Sunday. Didn't even get dressed.

Today I picked up Jasper from his weekend at the vet's. He's still on the same medicines. They said he's piddling ok, and drinking enough water, but he's got "irritation" from the earlier infection, it hurts, and that's why he piddles small amounts, often, in unapproved places. We are now on a prescription diet. Both cats ate it for dinner, so that's not too bad, I guess.

Droopy feeling. I'll probably go to bed early.


The difference between men's brains and women's brains - in case anyone wondered: