Ch ch ch changes

*The above video has nothing to do with this post, but this guy was cool.

Moving from a small town to a larger city is enough of a change, but moving from a house into an apartment complex, is a whole different kind of change. I was sucked in by the idea of manicured lawns I didn’t have to mow, someone else signing for my packages, a pool and gym at my disposal, and inexpensive rent. I should have known better. Not that this place doesn’t work for me, it’s just going to take a little adjusting.

Top 10 things you worry about when living in an apartment again after 18 years:

10. Your dog’s separation anxiety is going to lead to a call from all your surrounding neighbors wondering why you are torturing your terrier.

9. The three flights of stairs (cheaper if you’re on the top floor) are going to either a) give you some amazing calf muscles, or b) leave you gasping for air every time you buy groceries.

8. You forget that you now have neighbors who can see into your windows, and you walk around naked just as the neighbors across the way are feeding their kids breakfast.

7. You will die one day and since you haven’t made any lasting impressions, no one will find you for weeks- either your dog eats you, or you don’t get your deposit back.

6. The walls may be thin enough to record the neighbor’s mating schedule, or they yours.

5. You’ll get a notice from management that the meditation flags you hung on your balcony are not on the list of acceptable exterior decorations (but if you want to put three blow-up rafts, a rusty coffee tin full of cigarette butts, and hang your g-strings to dry, that would be fine).

4. You’ll actually need to buy more than 3-day’s worth of food, and it won’t fit in your tiny refrigerator.

3. Your friends back home will discover that you gave up trying to buy only reusable furniture pieces and bought everything you now own from IKEA.

2. Your father-in-law will come to visit and walk right through your screen door and fall off the balcony. (True story- the walking through the screen part, not the off the balcony part.)

1.You’ll decide to finally take a bath and discover that the strange squeaky noises aren’t just the old pipes, but your bathtub slowly pulling free of it’s housing to end up in the downstair’s neighbors bathroom (with you white knuckled and naked).

I am being a bit hyperbolic. I actually like living in a place with an inner courtyard and friendly neighbors with dogs. I may even get out my birding binoculars and do some “aviary sightings”. This whole apartment thing is a little Rear Windowish—so far, without the death. I’m crossing my fingers that something weird happens.


Microchipped Boobs and 3D Technology

 I turned 40 in January, and my insurance sent me a postcard telling me I could get a mammogram now—for free. So I did. I’m not going to lie, the free part was enticing, not to mention all the billboards and TV commercials around town about my local hospital’s new 3D mammography. I have nice breasts, but in 3D, I imagined they would be pretty stellar. What I did not imagine, was the letter I received two days later asking me to come for a follow up.

The mammogram itself was a lot less terrifying than I had pictured. I had this vision of two stainless steel plates clamping down on the sensitive tissue of my breast and flattening them like Wile E. Coyote meeting an anvil. It was not that. There was some flattening, but not that severe. There were a few comedic moments— when the technician took a look at what God has endowed me with and silently went for the largest plate they had hanging on the wall. Or when she tried to make me feel more comfortable by telling me she preferred working with larger breasted women. But, really, who doesn’t?

The mammography machines (3D or otherwise) are meant for women with C cup breasts, at best. The size of the platform where you set your breasts seems sizable enough, until you lower the plate from above and everything spreads out. If you’re in to food metaphors, imagine an ice cream sandwich on a warm day. The technician had to get a bit creative, and take pictures from different angles in order to get a full set. Once a new tactic was devised, it didn’t take long to complete. The technician was very kind, and very efficient. I filled my address out on the provided envelope and was told I would have my results in a few days. I then went to social media to encourage other women to take advantage of their over 40, free boob pictures courtesy of Obamacare.

Two days later I got a letter in the mail, the envelope addressed in my own hand. It simply stated that the radiologist would like to take some more pictures. It scared me. I made an appointment to have an ultrasound on my left breast. For two days my anxiety level rose. My husband kept assuring me it would be okay. I kept telling myself it was just my large breasts and their natural density that made the pictures blurry or something. The ultrasound revealed a lump, and a biopsy was scheduled.

Another two days passed before the biopsy. They seemed very long. I told a friend. Her mother, also a friend, had battled breast cancer. It was in her left breast. I briefly though it was an omen, a sign, a warning—or worse, random bad luck. The biopsy process was not pleasant, but it did not hurt. The ultrasound images of the biopsy needle moving in and out of the mass were kind of fascinating. The doctor explained they would place a Titanium marker in the mass to indicate it had been biopsied, and then take another quick mammogram photo to document its placement. (Imagine getting your dog micro chipped.) I made a joke about it being a souvenir—the doctor did not laugh, but the tech did. Being the ultimate ham, I then mentioned that the least they could do was make the marker magnetic. Then I would have somewhere to hang my keys in a pinch. Again the doctor did not laugh. He looked at the tech and said, “No one’s ever said that before.” I figured I had misread the room.

It was more than two days before I got the biopsy results. Not many more, but enough to turn me into a pinched, headached version of my usual self. The moment I heard the word benign, rivers of tears rolled down my face.

I am not the only woman who has ever gone through this, nor will I be the last, but while you are in the moment, it feels like you are the main character in a bad movie—one that when straight to VHS because it wasn’t good enough for DVD.

The point of this post—I don’t really know. It just feels good to get it out there.