Decide what you want. State it. Move towards it.

So, here’s something that’s been on my mind for a while.

I prefer goal-setting much more than New Year’s Resolutions. But the first of the year is such a great time to set new goals! It’s a new year! New starts! A good time to start moving towards new things, new levels!

I believe in the power of science more than the power of prayer. But I also think that what you put out comes back to you — if you go around always a Grumpy Sourpuss, people around you also seem grumpy and short-tempered. If you go around with a positive attitude, people and events around you seem to reflect that positive outlook. If you say that you want something but never move towards it, you never get it. If you say that you want something and you take steps to move towards it, it moves towards you.

If you move towards something and it moves away, maybe you weren’t meant to have it. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

In the words of Zoe from Firefly, “I’m not so afraid of losing something that I won’t try havin’ it.”

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So, what now?

Ermahgerd, what am I going to talk about now that Boob Saga is over?!

Speaking of boobs, I’m so over these mugs –

Coming soon #ceramics #mugs

I’ve been trying to do mugs with literary quotes on them forever. OK, not LITERALLY forever, but for about a year. The first batch had odd crazing issues (the glaze crackled when I took them out of the kiln). The second batch didn’t have crazing issues but I used a different glaze and I found them terribly dull. The third batch is above; I used another different glaze, was super happy with how they turned out, and when I showed a photo of them on Facebook, every single person who commented thought that the word “books” was the word “boobs”, because, my handwriting. So I never put these up for sale. Some of my book-and-boob-positive friends will be seeing them for Christmas. SPOILERS.

Now I have one more case of these GD bisque mugs, because a good customer broke the one she bought, and asked me for another, and I really like her so can’t refuse her… but my distributor doesn’t sell them singly, just in cases of eight. So I’m making her, her one, and now I’ll have seven that I’m contemplating setting on fire in a crossroads at midnight.

The biopsy, the Good News, the end (of this super long story)

FullOfStars

Need to catch up? This is the last part, Part Eight. Part One; Part Two; Part Three; Part Four; Part Five; Part Six, and Part Seven.

So on Tuesday, February 11th, I got my ass up at the crack o’ dawn to shower and get ready to go have sharp things stuck in my boob. FUN TIMES, YO! I was fueled and ready for action because two customers had emailed me that morning with “I know you said you’re taking the day off, but, [ insert question about custom order here ]“. WHO NEEDS COFFEE WHEN YOU CAN START YOUR DAY WITH STRESS?! You see, I had started to taper off the caffeine. In reading about cysts, I was finding a lot of information that distilled easily down into “lots of women get them and, like headaches, the reasons can be different for different women.” Sometimes it has to do with hormone changes, sometimes with diet, sometimes with caffeine, sometimes with the type of bra one wears, sometimes it’s hereditary. Or it can be some of those, or all of them! Or some at different times in your life! AWESOME.

After the ultrasound, I decided I would start with three things — cutting down on caffeine, cutting down on stress, and not wearing a bra as often. Caffeine was a likely culprit, as I drink two or three cups of coffee a day. It was also something that was easy to change… somewhat. I do like the ritual of a cuppa in the morning. I started buying both caff and decaf coffee, and mixing them (rather than quit cold turkey). The only way I could really cut down on stress was to start saying “no” and meaning it, so I did that. I’ve turned down a handful of things that might have been big (for HaldeCraft) but that would have caused me no end of stress (quantities, time limits, weird “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” vibes when talking to people about what they wanted). Some people came back with an “are you sure?” and the second “thanks for thinking of me, but no” was a little harder than the first but I stuck to my guns, and ultimately the stress of sticking to “no” wasn’t nearly as hard as taking on a few things I knew I didn’t want to do would have been. And it was confirmed for me in the ulstrasound (when they were going over where my cysts are) and also by a few days experimentation that wearing a bra that keeps the girls contained and immobile, hurts. Underwire bras, no wire bras, sports bras… they all hurt because the denseness of my breasts pushes the mustard-seed sized cysts in against my ribs. It’s like the GD princess and the pea all up in there. So, most days, no bra, unless I’m going out and about and seeing people. People I really, really like.

But I did have to wear a bra the day of the biopsy, because they were going to send me home with an ice pack.

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In between moments (part two)

Need to catch up? This is Part Seven. Part One; Part Two; Part Three; Part Four; Part Five; Part Six.

Scenes from a day off #spinning #spinningwheelI did a lot of this in January. It was relaxing, and fun, and made me feel like I was getting something done even when I was sick.

And I continued to think about MRI vs Biopsy. At this point the MRI place had called me and set up my MRI appointment for January 31st. I think they called me by about the 10th. At first I was firmly in the MRI camp, despite my claustrophobia, because I thought the biopsy would put me out of work for too long. But the more I thought about it (and the more my brain worked overtime) I started wondering, really, would a few enforced days off work be the worst thing that could happen to me? And I started to worry about the MRI. Worry about being in the 3% of people they wouldn’t be able to tell what it was, so that I’d need a biopsy anyway. Worry about the claustrophobia. Worry about the cost. Worry that there’d be some weird shit that would happen involving latent metals in the ink of my tattoos.

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In between moments (part one)

So, what else was going on while all this was going on?

Merry Christmas!A couple of days before the mammogram, I cleaned out my little library, intending to craft a little – for personal reasons, not work – in the mornings. That worked until it started to get cold – I couldn’t plug in a space heater – but it worked great for the first few weeks I was going through this. Spinning in the morning did help to center me. Good thing, too, as I was supposed to be on vacation, HAHAHAHA, we all remember how THAT turned out. I may never take another vacation again, I worked so hard on that one. I started a knit/crochet-along on Ravelry, got questioned nearly to death on the exact meaning of “use 75% of the skein”, turned down oodles of last-minute custom order requests for personalized ceramics via Etsy that I never would have been able to finish in time, even if I wasn’t on vacation, and of course there was Christmas.

AfterThe day they called me to schedule the ultrasound, the day after Christmas, I cleaned my work surface in my office. Nothing helps me to clean like sublimating my worries and channeling that into cleanliness! I also spazzed out a little because I felt like at the time, I was being asked to pay really close attention to a few things that other people thought were really, super, universe-changing important, things that from my world view really didn’t matter all that much. I’m sure that if I had told these people “here’s what’s going on for me right now, could you put a leash on that drama llama?!” they would have laid off, but then again, it wasn’t like I was telling everyone about this, so I tried to keep my temper in check so I wouldn’t look like a TOTAL crazy lady.  I think I mentioned, too, that that was the weekend our friends Caitlin and Greg came into town for an afternoon, and we had a good time seeing them, eating ALL THE PIZZA at Satchel’s, and then going to Craig and Rhea’s for a little while for more social time.

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Ugh; the ultrasound

FullOfStars

Well, I didn’t intend to drag my heels on this one, but a combination of a few crafty things I was consumed with, coupled with this being my least favorite part of the story, added up together for a delay.

The physical aspects of the ultrasound were not so bad – uncomfortable and hurty because they were pressing on a cyst, trying to see through/past it – but the emotional aspects of it wrecked my head for a few days. On one hand I had the logical knowledge of women getting call-backs all the time, my friends having had call-backs and having it be nothing, my friends reassuring me that it was probably nothing, and knowing before that because it was my first mammogram I was probably going to get a call-back since they didn’t have anything to base my images on. This was also the point at which I learned some of the most calming information (I’ll put those things in italics, so they stand out a bit), things I wish I’d known before I went in, things that started to inspire me to write this all up. On the other hand, I had the completely illogical paranoid fear of “there is something inside of me and they can’t tell me what it is just by looking at it” and at the end they told me, well, I’ll get to that in a second. Needless to say I had my brain telling me everything was fine and my heart telling me to start looking up knit chemo hat patterns. Oh, brains and hearts. Always warring against each other with the logics and the feels.

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We interrupt this blog for a word from our sponsor!

Well, not really. But here’s a pretty picture!

Bloom!

I’ll get back to the mammogram story soon – I’ve just had a rash of things to do coupled with some creative/crafty ideas I wanted to pounce on, and that means not a lot of computer time right now. I didn’t mean to leave everyone hanging!

Hey, I’m fine, did I mention that? The story has a happy ending. NOT THAT KIND OF HAPPY ENDING. What do you think this is, a massage parlor?!

And then I got the call to come back for an ultrasound

FullOfStars

Early in the morning, the day after Christmas, I got a phone call from the mammogram place. They had seen something they’d like to get a better look at, could I come in the following week? Again, it would be pretty early in the morning, although not as early as the day before.

Now, the phone call for the ultrasound was not entirely unexpected (although pretty unwanted). The radiologist had told me at the mammogram that because it was a first-time mammogram, and they didn’t have any records to compare it to, chances were good that I’d have to come in for a second look-over. Now, why they can’t just fucking DO IT THEN, when it’s your first time, I don’t know – maybe because it would make entirely too much sense, and wouldn’t cause nearly the same amount of emotional drama? Who knows.

So, my head knew that the call was not entirely unexpected, and that it didn’t necessarily mean A BAD THING, just that there was something more they wanted to see. But that didn’t mean that my heart didn’t immediately freak the fuck out. It was at this point that I reached out to a few of my friends. If I didn’t reach out to you? Please don’t be insulted. The mathmatical formula I used to decide who to reach out to was a word problem of “are they boob-talk-friendly” and “are they on Google + so I can keep this private, IE, NOT ON FACEBOOK” and “do I know they’ve had a mammogram and/or a call-back and/or have breastfed children, so that just randomly bringing up boobtalk isn’t going to get them to close off” with a minor addition of “if I tell them about a call-back are they more likely to give me reassurance or more likely show a need for me to reassure them”. Also I decided to message, and messaged, in the space of about five minutes so if I didn’t think of you within those five minutes, sorry. It’s nothing personal.

They, of course, all immediately reassured me that call-backs were normal, that boob science is scary, reminded me that it’s not like they wanted me to come back in THAT VERY DAY, and that a week’s wait meant “not an emergency”.

So let’s see… that was a Thursday, so I had the weekend – yay!- to go back and forth in my head about worried/not worried. My friends were absolutely lovely about talking me off the cliff, but you know… there was still some part of my head that was all, “OK, well, if I have to get any kind of surgery, if I can put it off for at least a week, I’ve already got January’s club yarn dyed and I can get February and March done in the next week if I had to. It won’t be fun, but at least it’ll be finished, so if I need some recovery time…”… thoughts like that. What I’d have to do if I had to take a month vacation for health reasons. What I’d have to do if I had to take two months off. Whether it would be worth it to try to hire someone to finish a few things for me, or just… coast on what I have finished… and absolute worst case scenario, how to divide all my crafting supplies between Sharon and Tim’s three sisters, and what sort of chemo hat pattern I should knit myself. Hey, none of that came to pass – obviously – but I can’t say it’s entirely a bad thing to think about those kinds of things. Because then you have a plan, kind of like thinking about what you’d do if your car drove off a bridge and you were submerged. If you’ve thought about what you’d do, before that even happens, you’re less likely to panic.

So, anyway. I spent that weekend with this in my head (I think this was even the weekend that Greg and Caitlin were in town and we met everyone at Satchel’s, so, sorry, Caitlin, if I seemed distant that weekend! I love my yarn!), and talking to a few girlfriends on Google +, and the morning of the ultrasound I got up and put on my two-piece outfit and didn’t use deodorant and drove across town to the steel and glass building. And I didn’t plan this, but the rest of that part of the story will have to wait until tomorrow, because today has just been a comedy of ceramical errors and now I have to leave to go meet Lynn (hi, Lynn! ::waves::) for an early dinner, followed by knitting at Broken Shelves.

More tomorrow!

So, how’d the actual mammogram go, then?

FullOfStars

This is Part Three of this story. Here’s Part One. Here’s Part Two. There is nothing quite so lonely as going to get your very first mammogram on a cold and rainy Christmas Eve morning, at a time when you’d normally just be finishing up your first cup of coffee, let alone been awake enough to drive across town.

Hmm. I thought I did, but I didn’t actually take a photo of the building. Well, probably looks like any health clinic anywhere. Mostly glass and steel, five or six stories tall (nothing in Gainesville is more than eight stories; long story). Gray sky, cold wind, looked like rain. Ungodly o’clock in the morning.

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