#Throwback Thursday: It’s Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month (Shhhh, No One Speak About It)

Originally published 5/19/13       Dedicated to my mom.

A bright spotlight shines on breast cancer. Pink saturates everything. Marathons are held to find a cure. Mammograms are encouraged to detect it.

Ovarian cancer lurks in the shadows hoping no one will notice it. And no one does. It’s free to go undetected and slowly kill thousands of women each year.

You can’t catch it. There is no test for it even though most women think a pap covers it.

No one knows that the signs mimic those of IBS. People usually jump to conclude it’s just digestive problems. Bloating, change in bowel habits, indigestion, nausea, abdominal fullness, fluid in the abdomen, or lump in the abdomen.

Most people don’t know that having breast cancer increases your chances of getting ovarian cancer. And vice versa.

Almost no one realizes that it’s the deadliest gynecological cancer there is.

Women are unaware that the CA125 blood test is the closest thing we have to a screening for ovarian cancer. And it’s not even reliable.

Little headway is being made. The five year survival rate for ovarian cancer has not changed significantly over the past 40 years. That means there are almost never survivors. Only loved ones you have to watch wither away over 1,2,3,4 or 5 years.

In 2008 the American Cancer Society awarded $572.6 million for breast cancer research. Ovarian cancer, $6.2 million.

I’m not trying to pit one disease against the other. Or to say one is more important. But damn. Where are our mammograms? Where are our pink ribbons? Where is our race for the cure? No one seems to notice this silent killer. And so it just goes on killing.

#Throwback Thursday: You Seemed So Perfect On Paper, But Then We Had Date #2

Originally published 5/26/14

I keep thinking I know what qualities I would like in a mate, but the last two men really have me second guessing myself.

I met Mark on Match.com and he was nice, smart, funny, self aware (a big thing with me), a good listener, thoughtful and cute. Ok, I thought, this time I have all the bases covered! This is going to be easy.

Then the self awareness turned into him telling/texting me his every thought and insecurity. All day long. By the second date, he was asking me if I was into this thing long term (uhhh, I don’t know?) and then proceeded to tell me that he was just scared and insecure about where this was headed.

I always thought I was an open minded and compassionate person, but I found myself wanting to yell “Man up!” So, I’m thinking don’t share that stuff so early. It feels a little pressure-y and makes me feel like he lacks confidence which is a turn off. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone’s emotional well being if I decide to bow out on date 3.

So one night after a few drinks (nothing good was ever said after a few drinks), I said to Mark, “Mark, it’s good for a man to be sensitive, but they don’t need to express every single feeling and insecurity all the time…” Who knows what else I added to that way too informative comment. So we quit talking soon after. Shocker.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I met Adam. Again, perfect on paper. All the “right” qualities on the surface. He did almost the exact same thing Mike did. First date was awesome and then second date I felt like I should invite him to lie down on the couch and ask him for a copay.

I always thought I was evolved enough to let men get into their junk and not be put off. Turns out, it’s very offputting. It feels like they are constantly analyzing their baggage and then handing it off to me for checking. I can understand sharing things when you’re a bit into a relationship, but it can sure suck life out of the second date.

So. I don’t know what it is I should be looking for anymore. It obviously goes way beyond “perfection on paper”.

REBLOG WEDNESDAY: Dear Kids, The world is still beautiful.

Hello friends! Wanted to share an awesome post from Jess at Wonderoak.

WONDEROAK

To My Kids,

Some people will say that the world is a scary, scary place.

My dear ones, don’t be scared. Be strong, be courageous, but don’t be scared. You have tools inside your belt. You have love, mercy, compassion, generosity, and kindness. You have ambition and courage, and a radical sense of justice. That is all you need.

You are not helpless to bring goodness and light to the world; you are well equipped.

Fear will tell you that it isn’t enough, and that there is nothing that can be done. It will say that you are helpless and a victim to fate. It isn’t true, my loves. The world is your canvas. Make your mark on it with creativity, compassion, and purpose…and I promise that you (and it) will never be the same.

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The Time I Thought They Forgot My Birthday

The Universe schooled me this week.

I thought my coworkers were going to forget my birthday. You know, kinda like what happened to Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles. Except I am a GROWN WOMAN and felt really dumb worrying about people forgetting my 43RD BIRTHDAY. And yet, I worried.

“Maybe you should drop a hint?” my sister half-joked.

“I can’t do that! I’ll look crazy!” I answered.

So the anxiety stayed in the back of my mind for the next few days. I wondered why I cared so much. I don’t really like being the center of attention, so why did it matter if they remembered or not. It matters because them remembering makes you feel like YOU matter, I thought to myself. Oh right. That makes sense. Conversely, if people forget, it means you don’t matter. Nobody wants to not matter. Duh.

Anyway, these girls remembered like a boss. They remembered so hard. Balloons, decorations, cupcakes, flowers, a card, lunch and treats. They even sung the birthday song. They outdid all previous coworker birthday celebrations. How could I ever have doubted them? That was silly.

Universe: When will you learn? I got this.

 

The Unnecessarily Defiant Dentist (& His Shitty Apology)

It’s such a pain finding a new dentist, isn’t it? But I really liked this one. My brother-in-law recommended him and I was pleasantly surprised by the office’s organization, professionalism and friendliness.

On my last visit, in anticipation of Hannah going for her first exam there the following month, I asked if they could look at the calcifications on her front teeth and tell me if anything could be done or not. I specifically told the hygienist that I didn’t want it mentioned in front of Hannah because she had been self conscious about them in the past. I didn’t want that box of worms reopened until I knew there was a simple—an affordable—solution. The hygienist and I both communicated this to the check out woman who said she understood. We even made notes in the system together and she reassured me that they would not bring it up to Hannah.
The day of Hannah’s appointment, I noted that a different dentist was on duty this time. I wasn’t even aware there was more than one dentist at this practice. Oh well, I’m sure he’s just as good, I thought and went back to watching Hulu. About an hour later, just-as-good-dentist came out to brief me on the state of Hannah’s pearly whites.
“So I spoke to her about her teeth calcifications and told her there’s a paste to get rid of them…” he started. I didn’t hear much after that because I was too busy having a conversation with myself in my head about how that could have happened.
“I thought I asked for the calcifications to be discussed with me in private and not in front of her. Weren’t there notes in the system?” I asked.
“Yeah I know, but it wasn’t a big deal, she was fine with it,” he replied.
“But that’s not the point. I asked you guys NOT to talk about it with her and you did anyway,” I kept going.
He just stared at me for like a million seconds without saying a word. I could imagine the thought bubble above his head though. And it had lots of expletives. As did mine. I remained silent, refusing to speak first.
“Well, I’m sorry,” he finally said with a definitely not sorry tone, and then further canceled it out with “But she didn’t seem upset by it.” Hmmm, he’s a stubborn one.
Yeah, I get it doc. I’m an overreactive borderline hysterical mom and you’re just a cool know-it-all dentist. I left the office without saying anything else about it because I wanted to give myself a chance to calm down.
I fumed all the way home and started to question why I was so mad. People make mistakes. Hannah WAS fine with it. I COULD afford the paste. No harm was really done.
Oh. It was his shitty apology.
If, from the beginning, he had just said “Oh I’m sorry! That was totally my fault. I should have ….blah blah whatever” instead of digging his heels in defiantly, I could have been more understanding. Annoyed, but not enraged.
I don’t like it when people pretend to apologize, but don’t really apologize.
Top 3 least sincere apologies:
1. They say sorry, but with a tone (which they pretend is a figment of your imagination).
2.They say they’re “sorry you feel that way” i.e. You’re not supposed to be upset.
3. They say soooorrrryyyy! i.e. sorry you’re an oversensitive loser.
They might as well just say what they mean: Sorry, not sorry.
Have you ever given or been on the receiving end of an sham apology? Tell me about it in the comments below! (Doesn’t it look like that tooth is giving the middle finger in the photo above? Made me laugh to myself)
Photo by Tom Hilton

The Business Plan That Had Nothing To Do With Me

An ex-boy-now-a-friend of mine was in town for a visit a couple of months ago and wanted to get together. Last time we saw each other, we were 20 years old and making lots of terrible decisions. As dramaticically driven twenty-somethings do. He ended up moving away for a job, we broke up and eventually lost touch.

During our visit we had a drink, caught up on life and talked about the future. He mentioned that he planned to move home again (my city) and wanted my help re-starting his business. We could be partners. I asked if his live in girlfriend knew about his plans and he said that she did, but that she would never move. It became obvious that they were on the rocks. Like, big rocks.

I figured the move-back-and-start-a-business plan was all just talk. Something we all do when we are looking for an exit from current life circumstances. Even so, we continued to discuss it after he left town. I kept checking on his commitment.

I’m sure you’ll change your mind, I texted.

Not changing my mind!, he texted back.

For weeks we talked logistics, timeframe and long term goals. As excitement grew, I began to think it could possibly work out. I allowed myself a measured amount of enthusiasm regarding the venture because I also knew that people rarely follow through with grand plans. This move-back-and-start-a-business thing was an obvious attempt to escape whatever shitstorm was happening back at his house. So I was playing it by ear.

Then everything went silent. He quit answering my texts.

“I’m not surprised,” my sister said. “People are shitty.”

“I’m not surprised he changed his mind, but I always expected him to tell me when he had,” I replied. “Not just play dead!”

(His sister has confirmed he’s not dead, by the way.)

For whatever reason, he’s not interested in dealing with the situation.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

People do weird things like this all the time. When I was younger, it used to upset me. I would get really wrapped up in figuring out the ‘why’ of it all. I’d take the disappointment personally. But now… now I just feel like people are complicated.

It’s not a personal thing. We all have our reasons. Our fears. Our insecurities. Our baggage. Our enigmatic actions are shaped by our own experiences and usually they have little to do with the people who are left wondering about them.

#Throwback Thursday: It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

Originally published 11/18/14

 

“There were times in my life when I had one thing to do all day, but I still couldn’t get to it. I gotta go to the post office, but I’d probably have to put on pants. And they’re only open till five. Looks like I’m going to have to do that next week.” —Jim Gaffigan

People think when you’re laid off that you have all the time in the world to accomplish all kinds of cool stuff. And, theoretically, you do. King of Queens’ Carrie thought she was going to read the Great Gatsby and catch up on assembling all of her photo albums. Turns out she mostly just played chopsticks on the piano and watched Dr. Phil.

Yeah. That’s reality.

I have all kinds of ambitious plans, but a few minor roadblocks.

#1 You’re supposed to be looking for a job. Time spent doing anything else seems complacent. You want to be able to tell people you have leads when they ask. And they will. Repeatedly.

#2 Or at least be worrying about looking for a job. You can’t really enjoy anything else you’re doing because you keep remembering you have no job. Images of Hannah and I living in a cardboard box flash through my mind as pages on my mental calendar fly off at an unstoppable pace.

#3 You can’t spend any money. Catching up with friends for lunch, taking care of long put off home improvement projects, working on your crafts, getting ahead on Christmas shopping—all cost money and can hardly be justified when mama ain’t workin.

#4 Turns out exercising isn’t any more fun now than it was when I was employed. I still hate it only now I can feel twice as guilty for not doing it when, clearly, I have plenty of time!

#5 Some days depression = frittering = nothing accomplished = compounding feelings of uselessness. I really wish I could go back to work just so I wouldn’t have to feel bad about not using my time off wisely.

I was going to add the events of a typical day of a laid off person, but eh. I don’t feel like it. Friends is on.

photo by memecenter.com