To Federicksburg & Back In One Day

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A “quick” trip to Fredericksburg to do a bridal portrait session for Brittany’s niece was exactly what I needed to get my mind off of this week’s drama, and keep me from focusing on waiting for the results. I’m so glad Brittany went along with me, and that she drove most of the way.

In other places in the world, most people wouldn’t consider 4 hours each way close enough to do in a one day road trip. I realize it sounds a little crazy. However, Mike has been gone all week in Calgary, and since he returned to Houston at the same time we arrived there, I wanted to just get back home.

We did make a stop though at Hondo’s on Main for some kick-ass burgers & sweet potato fries. Just what we needed to fuel our journey home.

I have only visited Fredericksburg once before, my senior year in high school on a class trip where we camped at Enchanted Rock. It all looked quite charming, and I definitely want to return soon. Hopefully for more than a few hours next time!

Day 20 of 365. Photograph taken at Hondo’s on Main in Fredericksburg, Texas with my iPhone 5 on April 13, 2013.

About the Biopsies This Week…

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Canada

This is Moraine Lake in Banff National Park. I took this photograph last June when I visited. It is the most beautiful place I have ever visited in my life. Something about just gave me this sense of peace, of serenity. I could sense my place in the universe – so small, yet so many possibilities.

This week, whenever I was having a stressful moment, I thought of Moraine Lake. I took a deep breath, and tried to remember the feeling of that glacial air washing over me, cooling me down, making me calm.

I’m the type of person who faces medical issues pretty head on. Goodness knows, I’ve had to deal with enough of them. I had my right ovary removed when I was 20. A lump in my breast (benign) removed in my late 20s, an emergency hysterectomy 5 years ago, I has always wanted to get >something that actually increases your breasts naturallypleomorphic adenoma, a normally benign tumor, bilaterally. (Both sides.) My ENT said that it happening bilaterally is very, very rare and she felt the doctor was being overly assumptive. She had another radiologist read my MRI results, and that person then had another doctor look at it.

They all were in agreement that they saw a nodular parotid gland on the left side. They also noticed the node on my left thyroid. I had to go back for an ultrasound on my thyroid. Yep! Dominant node on my left thyroid, over 1cm in size. A few little nodes next to it. (Having a dominant node caused my doctor “some concern”. You can read more on thyroid nodules if you’re curious.)

So yesterday I went in for Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) biopsies on both my left parotid gland and my left thyroid. They did ultrasounds first so that they would know where to go with the needle, and it was obvious that my left lymph node was enlarged. (They also did an ultrasound on my right parotid because of the original MRI report, but no other work.) There was also a questionable spot on my parotid gland, so both were biopsied. Several times. The last time must have been quite close to the nerve, because it HURT.

The pathologist was also in the room prepping his slides on the spot so if he needed to, he could request another sample. This worked out well, because the first thyroid sample was mostly fluid from the cyst, so they needed to go in again to get more solid matter.

During the procedure, I was glad that there was a photo of Moraine Lake on my iPhone to help keep me calm.

I handled all of it really well – the fact that I was going in for the test didn’t start to bother me until the night before, and especially the morning of – that was when it hit me that all of this was real.

I won’t know the results until Monday at the earliest. Hurry up and wait, the story of the medical field…

I know that whatever it is – they can do something about it. Or if they can’t do something about it, they can’t.

I’ve played out the worst case scenarios, because that is how I prepare myself. If it doesn’t end up being the worst case, I can be happy that it isn’t that bad. If it is the worst case, I’ve read up and researched it, and know a lot about it. I’m ready.

To be honest, since I went in for the first MRI with a feeling that I’ll be having surgery by the summer. I hope it is soon, and I hope the recovery doesn’t take too long. Mike has to return to Canada again for work, and I would like to go again. I hear Morraine Lake calling for me.

Day 19 of 365. Photograph taken at Morraine Lake in Banff with my 5D mkIII on June 12, 2012.

The End of a Long Day…

Chasing the Sunset

The end of a long day. I’ll post tomorrow about the how I got to the point of needing the biopsies. For now, I’m going to rest.

The story of the photograph: Last year, I flew 25,000 miles on United. Originally, I was a few hundred miles short, so on the way home from my final trip to Denver of the year, I made a mileage run and went from Denver to New Orleans, and then home to Houston. A little layover was worth it to qualify for Elite status, and I’ve already enjoyed upgrades that I earned from my new status, including flying first class home from Las Vegas, this year.

We left New Orleans at sunset, and this was our view as we flew west, chasing the sun as it set along the Gulf Coast.

Day 18 of 365. Photograph taken with my iPhone 4S, flying from New Orleans to Houston on December 13, 2012.

To The Mountains… IAH to DEN

To The Mountains

Tomorrow is going to be one of those days. It is too late at night, and I really must head to bed, so I can’t elaborate now. When I’m stressed or worried, I like to dream of going to the mountains. I know some people find a nice beach serene, with the breeze coming off of the sea. For me? It is the mountains. The majestic peaks, the cold crisp air.

There is no place on earth where I feel more at peace.

Day 17 of 365. Photograph taken with my iPhone 4S while flying from Houston, Texas to Denver, Colorado on October 28, 2012.

Clear the Zone…

Clear The Zone

Some days, you have to clear the zone before you can do anything else. Today was one of those days. A lot of writing done elsewhere. Not much to say here. I cleared the zone.

On a side note, I love that there is a Continental luggage carrier still there among the United ones. I am getting used to the merger and the name change finally, but I still miss the old Continental. The way it was. But life goes on, and things change. I’m ok with that.

Day 16 of 365. Photograph taken with my iPhone 4S at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas on October 28, 2012.