Diagnosis: The Big “C”

Published October 12, 2017 by lynn k scott

My blogging isn’t up to par as I have slacked off considerably with making sure I post at least once a day.

I grew tired of primary care physicians passing the buck, their staff refusing to schedule appointments (while in severe pain) because I wasn’t ‘nice enough’, being ignored when discussing symptoms or just regurgitating a previous ailment.  I took myself to the emergency room (at an expensive cost; considering my copay).

Well, I was right!  There was something wrong; seriously wrong.  When all the testing was said and done…a mass about five inches long, blocking 80% of my colon was discovered.  Major surgery was in my immediate future.

After a scheduling fiasco with the hospital, the surgery was finally completed.  The mass sent to pathology for testing.  A week later, the report was in:  Stage 3 colon cancer.  I had managed to convince myself the mass would be benign.  I recovered so quickly from surgery.  All was well again…silly me…I knew better than that!

Let’s recap (if you don’t follow my blog)….

  • Father:  Stomach cancer – Stage 4 (passes within 3 weeks of diagnosis)
  • Mother:  Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (beats it – but passes for another reason)
  • Younger Sister:  Breast cancer – Stage 4 (passes within 9 months of diagnosis)

I now have joined the rest of my family.  There are only two of us left, out of the original five members in our immediate family.   Four out of five people in one family being diagnosed with cancer…what are the odds?  Don’t answer that!

If my faith wasn’t so strong, I’d be a complete basket case.  Have I shed a tear or two?  Of course!  You’d have to have a heart cold as ice not to have such a diagnosis elicit some type of emotion when learning you have cancer and stage 3; at that.  Truth be told, this is the calmest I’ve been about a major life event.  I know that’s God’s grace.

I know He has a plan for me.  I wish it didn’t involve this disease.  However, I have many friends and family praying for me.   I have found an amazing church that has been incredible in supporting me.  As it stands, I have a 57% chance, without any further treatment, the cancer is gone.  Treatment will increase those odds, as there isn’t a test to say I still have the cancer.

What hit me hardest?  Telling my older children, who watched their grandparents and aunt pass away, that their mom was now sick.  Then, telling my youngest, who only knew a little of what claimed her aunt, at the tender age of 37, her mom had a similar disease.

Most days I’m good.  Very tired as I am extremely anemic at this point.  Other days, I’m angry.  I’ve dealt with so much already.  I didn’t, “why me?” the issue.  It is what it is.  I am doing my best to stay positive, especially for my youngest; the only child at home.

My perspective has sharpened a bit.  I’ve jotted down some details should the worst case scenario come full circle.  Not being a stranger to cancer and what it can ultimately do, I am capable of making decisions that I don’t want to leave to family.  It’s unfair to make them have to make decisions on my behalf.

I will go through the motions.  I’ll probably be in debt trying to pay for medications, increased insurance premiums and everything else that goes with having to say, “I have cancer”.

I will not be pitied.  I will accept prayers, visits, bonding with family and friends and knowing making memories is extra special now.  I am also continuing to work on the Kathi Cares Program, which supports local cancer warriors.

ribbon

 

 

 

 

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A Little Bit of Planning

Published September 18, 2017 by lynn k scott

It’s no secret that I am planning on my own funeral.  It’s really not that morbid and it allows my A-type personality to see myself through to the end.

Having personally planned three funerals, I really wouldn’t wish that upon anyone.  It’s not that it’s difficult, but death brings up feelings that people probably aren’t prepared to deal with or don’t deal well with, in general.

Why shouldn’t I lesson their burden?  I know what I want:  A Celebration of Life.

I have already chosen:

  • The person I want to officiate the service
  • The music to be played and sung
  • The location
  • The food
  • Cremation because I don’t like people looking at me.  Plus, if people were staring at me, I wouldn’t be able to tell them to stop (well without scaring them to no-end lol)

Being a native New Yorker, who transplanted to Northern California, I can’t have a generic gathering after the service, right?  So, I’ve planned on using a local, little pizza joint (fellow NYers, of course), to provide pizza, calzones, submarine sandwiches and Buffalo wings.  Then, there will have to be bagels and cream cheese.  Lastly, we’ll add some cheesecake for good measure.  No diets will be observed at this Celebration of Life.

People should embrace my Irish heritage and eat, have coffee (my life blood right now) and share humorous stories of how I despised the Evil Empire, acclimated Californians to how NYers spoke and their expectations.  They can share the memory of the poor guy who chose to tell me I was only in Mets gear because they were in the playoffs one year.  A decision he would come to regret when he realized I was truly a NYer.

Either way, thought I would share.  Perhaps someone else may take this as a sign to start thinking about the inevitable.  One day, I’ll have eternal life and I want those I leave behind to remember my time here on Earth; the good and the bad.

Now for the curve ball…

Published September 15, 2017 by lynn k scott

I haven’t posted in awhile; longer than it should have been.  I’ve been struggling with my health.  For those of you who follow this blog, you’re aware I am less than a fan of the medical profession.   Ok, ok, I actually loathe it and view dealing with doctors and health facilities as a necessary evil.

I’ve had multiple issues trying to be seen for an ongoing issue.  First specialists were only working when I had to pick my daughter up from school.  Perish the thought they work past 3 o’clock.  Then, I couldn’t find a native English-speaking doctor.  Hold up…hop off that train of thought you are beginning to process.  I had a non-native doctor dismiss my symptoms because she didn’t take me seriously.  When she finds it appropriate to recommend a banana and drinking more water (without knowing my dietary habits), yup, it justifies walking out and asking for a US-born physician.  Heaven-forbid wanting an English-speaking doctor is the sin the medical practice made it out to be.  How dare I? Sorry, hiring native Spanish-speaking, Farsi-speaking, Chinese-speaking doctors, for the comfort of the patient is no different than what I was asking.  All in all, I ended up being banned for my instance on seeing a female doctor; whose first language was English.

Onto waiting for the first of the month to be seen by another practice.  Oh, I’m a new patient and haven’t been “established”.  That means my necessary appointment can wait an additional two weeks while the insurance carrier and practitioner discriminate new and established patients and refuse to give them the next available appointment.

Finally!  I see a doctor.  She regurgitates a peptic ulcer that I was treated for a year ago and I’m there to see her about the same issue as the treatment was effective.  She cannot understand my not wanting a scope stuck down my throat to test for an ulcer that I tell her I am not suffering from; that something else is wrong.  She tells me I have insurance and can’t see the big deal in my refusal.  Ummm…invasive and a 20% copay AFTER a $1500 deductible.  Welcome to the real world, Doc.  I refill the ulcer meds anyway. I message her for three days in a row:  medicine is not working.

I gave up.  She was ignoring me because I refused an unnecessary procedure.  I chose to look the other way regarding my copays and headed to the Emergency Room (ER).  The ER thanked me for coming in.  I apparently have Intussusception.   That’s being caused by Tubulovillous of the colon.

Needless to say, I am already sick of dealing with the G.I. dept, the oncology dept, as well as constant communication with my surgeon.  Yup, next week I go under the knife for a few hours to have a good section of my colon removed.  The ulcer, that two doctors said I have was actually a polyp that grew to be 10-15 cm and is blocking 80% of my colon. I paid copay after copay, because I was in PAIN.  Let me tell you, the pain is nothing short of being in second to third stage labor, for weeks at a time.  I have been trying to resolve this, actively, for over a year.  Doctors:  LISTEN TO YOUR PATIENTS!!!

I’m glad to have a diagnosis and treatment plan.  I’m not happy with knowing, every doctor I have spoken with, while telling me we will have to wait for pathology, believes I have cancer.  We have to wait for the mass to be removed and tested.

I can deal with having cancer, if that’s what the test shows.  Telling my kids, esp. my older children who watched both my parents get diagnosed and ultimately watched my father and sister lose their cancer battles is scary.  Telling my 11-year old, who is basically being raised as an only child is terrifying.  She is already emotional with my first hospital stay and my upcoming surgery and longer hospital adventure. She has heard the word, ‘cancer’, but has no idea what it truly means. Children shouldn’t feel afraid for their parents.

While my family, friends and church have been extremely supportive, whenever you are forced to face your mortality, your brain goes into overdrive.  I have given this to God.  I know he has a plan for me; even if I don’t understand it.  I am used to being independent. I don’t want those who depend on me to worry.  I just pray for strength for my family.

Take a Moment; Make a Memory

Published July 12, 2017 by lynn k scott

I found myself, on two separate occasions, talking about memories.  The first time I mentioned memories was on a Facebook link that was in response to a woman who said she was glad women had evolved and didn’t do things like grind their own meat or coffee, can food, prepare homemade meals, etc.

I was mildly offended by that.  While I was born in the early 70s, I take great pride in working a full time job, coming home to cook a homemade dinner (six to seven nights a week), and sitting at the table, with my family, to enjoy it.

I still hang clothes out on the line and I can a lot of different foods throughout the year. To me, I am making memories with my daughter.  Years from now, she will see a jar of preserves and think of my “armageddon shelf” that was always stocked with a variety of jams, soups, stock and vegetables.

Tonight, I was speaking with my Pastor and I used that exact example.  It got me to thinking, “that’s a blog post”.  All to often, especially in today’s society, it’s a “now” or “me” mindset.  While I am guilty of having the same thought pattern on occasion, I don’t seem to do it as often as some people.

It takes hours to make bread from scratch.  I enjoy mixing some flour, yeast and water and getting bread when all is said and done.  I teach my daughter how to measure, mix and make food from ingredients instead of a box.

She and I will go for a walk in a local park.  We might stop and watch the dogs play in the dog park.  We will hunt for pinecones for crafting projects.  Finding a bench and listening to the birds’ melodies as they communicate with each other.

So, I encourage you to spend quality time with those who matter most.  It doesn’t have to cost you anything.  Go to the beach, sit on the sand together and watch the waves crash against the shoreline.  Spend time in the kitchen making culinary creations.  Go to sporting events.  Rock your child in chair.  Go the library and cultivate a love for reading.

When I am finally called Home, I want my family to have memories that will make them smile when they think of me.  That they will feel the love I had for them, when I can no longer physically wrap my arms around them to offer comfort.  Now is the time to take a moment and make a memory.

Will You Remember Me?

Published June 27, 2017 by lynn k scott

Tomorrow will mark 10 years since my father passed away.  In the last two weeks, I have remembered the loss of my sister and mother.  I have lost three family members; all in the month of June.  All by the time I was 41 years old.

Mortality is in the forefront of my mind. It’s hard to ignore it.  All three of them had cancer, two were defeated by it and one passed, due to illness complications.  So, yes, wondering if I will meet an early demise, in June (no less), brings up lots of questions.

I didn’t have the best relationship with my father, but my sister’s and mother’s deaths hit me hard and their angelversaries elicit uncontrollable emotions.  There are specific things that I remember about each of them.

Remembering Dad:

  • Cook
  • Hot-tempered
  • Alcoholic
  • Recovering Alcoholic
  • Sports fan (Mets/Giants)
  • Friend to Chuck
  • Unable to show love to his family

Remembering Mom:

  • Faithful
  • Hard Worker
  • Loyal
  • Dedicated
  • Friend
  • Compassionate
  • Horrible Cook
  • Family-oriented

Remembering Sis:

  • Stubborn
  • Opinionated
  • Argumentative
  • Loyal friend
  • Loved the outdoors
  • Gardener
  • Dedicated mother
  • Straight-forward
  • Couldn’t cook rice (LOL to the family)

Gets me to thinking how, or even if, my children will remember me.  There’s history that hasn’t been discussed on this blog.  My youngest child will be the affected the most.  I can’t say the other children will be that upset or even care.  It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but I am not ignorant to my reality either.

What will my friends think of me?  Will I have a large attendance at my funeral? Probably not.  I can’t see that.  I’ve done a lot of personal reflection.  I am planning the details of my funeral.  I never want to have to put someone through that.

Death is inevitable.  I choose not to fear it.  I believe God has chosen my path.  It certainly hasn’t been an easy road to follow, but I will continue on it until I am called home.

 

Rant: Selling/Buying on Facebook

Published June 21, 2017 by lynn k scott

*Steps up on soapbox*

*Taps mic*

Hello…I’m going to say my peace about buying and selling on Facebook.  Feel free to agree (or not).  Having been an admin a sales boards, as well as a buyer or seller, this is how I see it….

SELLERS:

  • Provide the city your item(s) are in.
  • If you are willing to travel to meet buyers; say so.
  • Go in order of contact.  If someone by-passes the comments and PMs you (hoping to jump ahead of someone), let them know their place in line.
  • If listing more than one item for sale, either use the “Start Discussion” option to get out of listing a primary price OR list the most expensive item first and subsequent items/prices in the description.
  • STOP using screen shots from other groups.  It’s harder to see the item (and that’s just for starters as to why you do don’t do that).
  • READ the rules for each group.  They are there for a reason and you’re not so special that they don’t apply to you.
  • If you get permission to post something, add “Admin approved” to the beginning of your post.
  • Keep all appointments.  Do not cancel at the last minute.
  • Remove your post when it has been sold.

BUYERS:

  • Have the exact amount of money the item is being sold for.  No the seller doesn’t need to make change for you.
  • Keep your appointment and be on time! If you agree to buy something, then show up to buy it. Time is valuable; including the seller’s.
  • Be prepared to pick up the item. It’s not the seller’s responsibility to get the item to you.
  • If you respond to purchase something, be prepared to pick it up.  If you need to make arrangements for a later day/time, let them know that upfront; not after you should have been at the meeting location.
  • Ask ALL the questions about the item BEFORE agreeing to the purchase.  Do not ask them after you have agreed and set a time/location for pick up.

BOTH Buyers and Sellers need to be respectful of each other.  Times are hard.  Facebook allows free advertising and the ability to stretch our paychecks by getting rid of items we no longer need and/or want.

*Says ‘Thank You’, nods and steps off soapbox.*

LME Weddings

Published June 21, 2017 by lynn k scott

I’ve gone and done it.  I’ve started my own wedding planning business.  I attempted this several years ago, but now the timing is right.

LME Weddings & Events has taken shape and I’m in the process of building my business. At the moment, I’m still working my “day job”, but the goal is to have a profitable business within the next three years.

Yes, I’m tired of working for someone else.  It’s not even that as much as it is, while I’m good at what I do, I’m not happy doing it.  Work is currently and ends to a means.  Why not be in business and see happiness in yourself as well as your clients?  Right?

So, that’s what I did.

LME Weddings is still a work in progress; as far as the website goes.  I also have a Facebook presence.  Advertising is advertising and the more I get the word out, the sooner my business will grow.

With returning to homeschooling next year, I want to be home with my daughter.  While I may have to work for someone else during her junior high years, the plan is to be home while she completes high school.  I’m excited to finally see a dream, that’s been years in the making, taking shape and having life breathed into it.

If you’re in the Solano, Yolo or Sacramento areas, let me know how I can help you with you wedding/event planning details!

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