Sunday, October 31, 2010

...a cross-cultural solution

Jack o' Luminaria
(I never got around to buying a pumpkin this year, but wanted my entrance to be trick-or-treater friendly.)

Friday, October 29, 2010

...22 stitches

About a year ago I made an appointment with a dermatologist for a full-body check. My friend Kathryn had recently had surgery for skin cancer, and she wanted everyone in her circle to get checked out. (Kat is fine--surgery took care of it, and she has just a small scar on the back of her arm.) My doctor found nothing, but agreed that given my age, coloring, and the amount of time I have always spent outdoors, having a base-line was a good idea.

A little over a month ago I felt something on the back of my left arm. I took a picture of it so I could get a good look. looked odd. A couple weeks later I took another picture and promptly made an appointment. The "thing" was changing, growing, and itchy.

The doctor looked at it, said he wasn't sure, but decided to do a biopsy anyway. A few days later his office called back and said it was a non-life-threatening form of skin cancer...squamous cell carcinoma. Surgery was scheduled, I arranged for a sub, and tried not to worry too much. I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to pain.

On Wednesday morning I got up early, drove to Walla Walla, and had the "thing" removed. There is a reason I am an educator and not in the health care profession. To say I get queasy very easily is an understatement. I couldn't see what was going on with my arm since I was curled in an awkward position, but I could hear and smell and feel more than enough. When it was all over I drove myself home and crashed on the couch before the local anesthetic wore off.

Thursday was actually worse. I was to change the bandage, but the one they put on was stuck like super glue to my skin. I confess I was close to tears when it finally came loose. I took another picture of the site--and was totally unprepared for what I saw. What had originally been a spot not any bigger than the tip of my finger was now a 2 inch wound! Yikes. (I won't be posting the picture--I wouldn't be able to stand looking at it and don't want to subject anyone else to it either.) The doctor had told me there were 22 stitches in all, inside and out, but what that would look like didn't really sink in until I saw the picture.

Today I was back at school and hyper aware of my arm. A coworker (who didn't know why I had been out) reached out to give me a playful swat on the arm. I quickly dodged his hand, and kept plenty of space between myself and students in the crowded halls.

Thanks, Kat, for encouraging me to find a dermatologist last year. Really, in the grand scheme of things, this was very minor. I'm grateful for my good health and know my arm will heal quickly.

Friday, October 15, 2010 addition to my "stable"

I say "stable" and laugh at myself, as though I'm a serious cyclist like some people who really DO have a stable of bicycles. For years I had one bike at a time--usually a fat-tired hybrid that I rode around town and took along on camping trips. Three years ago I bought a road bike, but kept my fat-tired bike. See? The beginnings of a stable. This past weekend I aquired a third bike, and it has me grinning from ear to ear. In 1940 or 1942 when my Dad was either 8 or 10 (Mom is looking for the picture taken at the time that will verify the date) his grandfather rode the train out to Oregon from Minneapolis. He brought with him a gift for my Dad--a brand new Elgin bicycle, complete with shiny chrome fenders. The bike was so big and heavy that Dad couldn't even ride it at first, but he soon got the hang of it. Dad said he put a lot of miles on that bike, and when he left home at 17 to join the Navy, his baby brother put it to use. When we moved back to Dad's hometown in the 70s, Grandma was riding that bike out to the Grange and back almost every day. It was looking pretty rough by then, but still a good, solid machine.

Every now and then I'd remember the old bike and wonder what had become of it. Grandma sold, gave away, and tossed a lot of things before she had to go into a nursing home because of Altzheimers, so I figured the Elgin was long gone. I asked Dad about it this past summer and he said it was still out in the chicken house at Grandma's (now my youngest brother's) place. When I asked Dave about it he grinned and said yup, it was still there, but he had plans for it. So I shrugged, said I was glad to hear it, and left it at that. That was in July.

This past weekend Dave called and asked if I would be stopping in Cove on my way home from Boise. I hadn't planned on it, but he said he had something to give me. What else could it be? Of course I would stop by!
So now I have a "stable" of three bikes. I can't wait to get the newest addition fixed up and take it out for a spin. What a treasure!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

...the last evening ride of the year

Only four of us showed up. Scott lagged behind. Normally, I would stay with him, but this time Mike did. Nate asked, "What do you think, Sue?" I grinned and said, "I'll let you know if I need you to slow down." We made good time, but it was still dark by the time we got in.

Bliss = Drafting off of a fast guy, holding on with everything I have.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I've been doing a lot of shoe shopping lately, and even some shoe buying. Unfortunately, I've also been doing some shoe returning as well.

I'm in search of the "perfect" shoe. One that is comfortable all day, every day, but especially Thursdays. Why Thursdays? We're on a modified block this year which means that I have a 45 minute prep on Mondays and Tuesdays, a 90 minute prep on Wednesdays, and NO prep on Thursdays. I am on my feet, going at warp speed, from 7:30-2:45, with only about 20 minutes in the middle to sit at my desk and eat lunch. Whew!

So my feet and my legs need and want a decent pair of shoes or two.

I've tried on shoes, thought they were "it," brought them home and tried them on again...hey, why didn't I notice in the store that the left one hurts the top of my foot? I've ordered shoes online, and waited excitedly for them to arrive. This time the left foot feels great...but the right one feels like there's a lump in the toe.

Oh, and since I'm not yet 70? I want my shoes to have a bit of style to them. The young male clerk (who called me ma'am) in the higher-end shoe store I visited today, shrugged his shoulders when I said I was on a quest for the most comfortable, yet stylish shoes on earth. "Let me know if you want to try something on." (Maybe from his perspective there's not much difference between 50-something and geriatric.)

So the quest continues. MY shoe is out there, waiting for me to find it, I just know it. Let's hope we're united soon!