Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Take Your Health for Granted

Sometimes I think I need to get a little more personal on this blog, and this is one of those times. It promises to be a long one, so either stop reading now, or be prepared for a bit of reading.

I’m going back to the beginning, April 21. My book was coming out April 27, and I had nothing but high hopes for the future. April 21 was my scheduled annual mammogram. I took the day off of school for the appointment and spent the rest of the day writing guest blogs, planning promo for the launch of the new career. Excitement, nerves, and fear about the new book filled me. And then on Friday, April 23, they called and said that they found something on the mammo and want to do another one. But that this was fairly normal and that I shouldn’t worry. (Really? I’m a writer. I earn money from using my imagination.)

So my book came out on Tuesday, April 27, my puppy arrived April 28, and on Friday, April 30, I went in for another mammo and a sonogram. The mammo still showed something, so they scheduled me for a scintimammogram—that’s nuclear medicine for those who don’t know. May 11 was the next available date. Great. Not quite two weeks of worrying.

In the meantime, I had guest blogs, comments to make, keeping up a good face at school, and trying to enjoy my book’s launch. I also had a puppy to laugh at. I did most of the time, but sometimes the worry would get to me. By the way, thanks to all those bloggers who let me appear on their blogs, all the interviews you all let me give. It was helpful to keep my mind off of things.

So the scintimammogram consisted of having radioactive stuff injected into me, and then a special mammogram that shows the radioactive isotopes that react to anything unusual happening in the breast. I had to laugh while taking the test. The vial of radioactive stuff was kept in a lead tube, the technician kept it in a lead box, the syringe vial was encased in lead, but they just shot it into me. It didn’t frighten me; I just found it ironic. But the test was positive. Definite reaction. Next step: MRI.

Now lest you think I’m feeling overly sorry for myself, I wasn’t. I didn’t tell people because I didn’t want people coming up to me and asking how I was. That’s not who I am. My daughter joked with me. “If it is cancer, they can just lop off the breast. Of course, then you’ll be walking around in circles.” Best line ever.

Meanwhile, I’m checking reviews coming in of my book, scheduling more blogs. It was surreal, really. The excitement of the book coming out, the end of the school year coming fast, and yet behind it all I was frightened of the “c” word. My husband kept saying it wasn’t fair. I should be enjoying this time, enjoy the success the book seemed to have. Yeah, well, life doesn’t work that way.

May 19 was the MRI. It showed not only the spot in the right breast that was causing concern, but also a spot in the left that hadn’t been spotted through all the previous testing. Great. Of course, by now I was thinking this wasn’t so bad. Breast reduction on the insurance company. Never have been able to find blouses that fit well.

Met with a breast specialist who is fabulous, and we decided on a course of action. I went in for a lumpectomy on June 7. We decided that because whatever this was was caught so early, it would just be best to cut them out. Then if it was cancerous, they would be out, and if it was precancerous, then they wouldn’t be there to turn cancerous. She also said that if I were 65, she wouldn’t have done this, and just let it grow for another ten years, but because I was so young (preening here) this would take care of anything in the future.

Between May and now, I decided I wanted people to know. I had gotten used to the idea, and frankly, I didn’t think about it much. I was ready for people to ask me how I was. I’m still not thinking about it much, except now my chest is wrapped in bandages and I can’t take a really deep breath, but I have so much going on. I’m working hard on the third book in the trilogy, putting finishing touches on my GLEE essay for the fall book, and enjoying summer. I wish I had the definitive answer to give you right now. The pathology still isn’t back on whether it is cancer or not (I should find out tomorrow or Friday), but whatever it is, it’s out, and I’m good. I’m a little uncomfortable (I did have surgery, after all), but I’m good. We’re talking cure, not treatment. And really, if it is anything, we caught it sooooo early.

So here’s the explanation of the title of this blog. Take your health for granted. I don’t mean you should eat unhealthy, or that you shouldn’t exercise or see a doctor regularly, but you shouldn’t worry about your health if you don’t have to. Once you’re given a reason to worry, you’ll do plenty of it. No need to worry about things until they happen. So take your health for granted. I’m ready to do just that with only the occasional reminder that something happened to me in April, May, and June of 2010. I’d rather remember that‘s when my book came out and my career started.


Books I’m reading now:
Strangers in Death by JD Robb
Ten Things I Love about You by Julia Quinn


  1. Wow, that's so much at once! I mean, it was so much when I didn't know about this, but now it's like Super So Much - as always, you're handling things with lovely grace :)


  2. Way to stay tough, but I'm with your hubby...not fair! You'll be in my prayers, but you were already in my thoughts because I was already thinking, "Wow, I really loved the Wish List, can't wait for the second book!"

  3. Oh my goodness. I'm thinking of you and sending you all my hugs and support.

    You're totally in my thoughts. Keep us posted, okay? XOXO

  4. Please sit down and put your feet up. YOu're making me tired just reading this! Your daughter had the best line-you are true. Can you put that in a book somewhere? Good lines are hard to come by.
    Glad you are keeping your perspective and sense of humour about it.

  5. We are only given what we can handle. Wusses don't get dealt a lot, but the strong...well the strong get a double dose. Love you. Love you.

  6. Just call me Superwoman.

    Seriously, you can't live your life worrying because then you aren't living. Thank you, all of you, for your support. I appreciate all the good thoughts. And I will keep you posted.

  7. Wow, Gabi, I had no idea. Hugs for just being you and handling it all the way you handle everything, with quiet grace. As always you are in my thoughts and prayers. Love you!

  8. I will keep you wrapped in my thoughts and prayers. You're right. Why worry till you have to!

  9. Hugs!!! I'm thinking about you.

  10. Props for your magnanimous attitude. All the best to you.

  11. Great blog! It can be challenging to handle these things when so much of you is in the public eye, but boy--you nailed this one! Hoping bright things for you now...

    not the Beagle

  12. You're absolutely right--worry doesn't solve a thing. Thinking about you! Hope the results are benign and that you can continue to enjoy the success of your new books. :D