Sunday, February 21, 2010

Where I Was Yesterday

I planned to write this post yesterday, but got busy doing other things. Which is good.

Friday, after I got the word about my extremely-possible ovarian cancer, I was strangely free of sensations of fear. No unseen hand viciously squeezing my gut, no leaden weight at the heart, no noose at the throat. I was full of nervous energy, yes, but I channelled that into thinking and planning and letting people know.

Friday night, I actually slept pretty well. But yesterday morning I didn't feel like lying in the way I usually do, and got up at 7:00. This is good-- I can't afford to be a slugabed. What wasn't good was that shortly after I got up, even when I was just greeting my animals and going about my morning routine, it hit.

No, not dire thoughts of fear and panic. No, no wild feelings of Oh My God, O My God! No, I was hit with a sensation of oppression in my upper arms, an annoying, distracting pain that all day tried to keep me from doing what needed to be done.

Weird, really. I know it's hormonal; adrenalin, probably. But it usually takes me in the gut. Why the arms?

I don't know. All I know is that I was tempted to do the flight-avoidance thing. To go back to bed or find some computer card games online to play (I've deleted them from both my computers). But that would be silly!! The thing I most resent about facing my mortality is that I may-- I say, may!-- not have the time to do all the things I've planned and want to. And am I now going to waste a perfectly good day on absurdities? I'll save that for when I'm feeling really grotty and have no choice.

More later, but it's time for me to head to church. Blessings to all!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Baptismal Anniversary

About ten years ago I was Scarred for Life by a psychologist who interpreted my Minnesota Multiphasic results to say that I was a terrible hypochondriac. I was never so insulted in my life-- in fact, I'd laughed at the questions on the MMPI designed to detect an over-attention to one's health. I have no idea how he came to that conclusion, since I'm usually the last one to run to the doctor or automatically to think I'm ill or to make my health the main topic of conversation. What the MMPI should have shown was that I'm too stinking sensitive to what other people say about me, especially authority figures. So his words keep recurring to me and made me eager to disprove them. More than before, I've been reluctant to follow up on random symptoms, or to say much about my state of wellness, unless to my intimate friends.

But that has to change. At least, it's going to, starting today. Because . . .

Well, I'll let the private message I sent this afternoon to a select group of Facebook friends* tell the story for me:

I thank you for praying for me and I ask your continued prayers. I had a sonogram early this afternoon for some gynecological symptoms (sorry, gentlemen, don't mean to embarrass you) and as it turns out, I have a greatly enlarged right ovary. In fact, it's 4 to 5 times the size it was when I had a previous sonogram in June of 2008. They won't know 100% what it is until I have surgery (yes, the whole lot has got to go), but my doctor was frank when he said that he can't think of anything other than a malignancy that would cause such rapid growth in someone my age.

He's referring me to a gynecological oncologist, whom, God willing, I will hear from by this coming Tuesday. After that I'll begin to know when and where and what.

As I said, please continue to pray for me. Some might be thinking, "Well, prayer didn't work that time!" After all, the test didn't come up negative. But you'd be wrong. I've known such a result was possible and the other day I was very angry and upset at the prospect of it. My major risk factor for ovarian cancer is that I've never had a child, and I was thinking, "Blast it, I never got to use these organs for the purpose God gave them and now one of them is going to betray me?" I was afraid I'd have a major hissy fit all over the doctor's office. I don't say I'll never feel like that as the days and weeks go on, but this afternoon I did not. I was able to keep my cool and listen to what my doctor had to say. And I'm able to think clearly about what I need to do now. That, my friends, is God answering prayer.

So please, do keep praying for me.

First, that my faith in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will remain strong-- that I'll happily find out just how strong He is.

Second, that I won't use this as an excuse to get depressed and be snippy or obnoxious to those who really do care. And pray I won't be afraid to ask for help whenever I need it.

Third, that I'll get the things done I need to get done and won't mope around, or waste time on Internet forums and so forth.

Fourth, given that I have no insurance and a very NONlucrative job (substitute teaching), that the money will be found from whatever sources both for the medical care and for keeping my household bills paid till I can get back to work again.

Fifth, and most importantly, that I will with God's help successfully come out the other side of this (comparatively) whole and healthy and have many more years to minister and teach and enjoy the fellowship of my good friends.

I'll let my other FB friends know, too, but wanted to make sure that those of you who responded to my earlier status were immediately informed.

(St. Blogwen)

But what has this to do with baptism? Well, today is the 54th anniversary of the day I was baptised. On that day my parents confessed the faith of Jesus Christ on my behalf and pledged to raise me in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, against the day that I would confirm those promises and make that confession for myself. And on that day, God, through water and the Holy Spirit, applied the blood atonement of His Son to me, to wash away all my sins and unite me with Him forever.

I now face a baptism of a different kind, but I still go through it with my Lord Jesus. It's no coincidence that my Psalm this morning was No. 130-- "Out of the depths I cry to thee, O Lord!" and my Old Testament reading was Isaiah 52:13-53:12, the Song of the Suffering Servant, by Whose wounds we are healed. The fire will get hot at times and the floods deep, but He has promised never to leave me nor forsake me, and He will bring me through.
*If you weren't on the list, I beg you, please don't be insulted. It was the people who'd responded to my status post Wednesday night about having a medical test today. I figured they were the ones who'd seen it and would be wondering.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Now for Something Completely Frivolous

My eldest niece, who has just turned 39, has always been a blonde. Not a bottle blonde; not a medium-ash-blonde-verging-on-dishwater-brown like me; but a real blonde, like her father. But a month or so ago, Micki* got a bee in her bonnet and decided to go brunette.

Really dark brunette, actually. Nearly black, with bluish highlights.

I'm not 100% crazy about it . . . not that it's awful . . . it's rather striking, in fact. I just wish she'd picked a warmer shade. The bluish highlights match her gray-blue eyes a little too well. Makes her look monochromatic. The bright red lipstick she's taken to wearing with the look is very effective, however. And overall, Micki carries it off. It's not like I agree with my mom (Micki's grandmother) who has told her categorically to Never Ever Do That Again.

And that's a good thing, or I'm the biggest hypocrite in the Western Hemisphere.

Because when I saw the pictures Micki sent me of her new look, I was impressed with her guts. And I remembered the fantasies I had in high school about me being a mysterious, glamourous brunette, instead of a verging-on-dishwater-brown-medium-ash-blonde. I never had the courage to act on that; indeed, I never colored my hair at all till eight and a half years ago when I saw how dull and greenish-brownish-gray it looked in a video of me preaching at a friend's church. And since then I'd always gone a shade or two lighter than my best summertime natural color.

But now I studied Micki's photos and thought, "If my niece can do it, why can't I? And if not now, when?"

Somebody's fashion blog I read recently said be sure to redo your color when you start seeing a "landing strip" on the top of your head . . . . Yep, there it was. Signal the blue runway lights and the guys with the long red flashlights! And, God willing and nothing getting in the way, I have a preaching audition (we call it a neutral pulpit in the PCUSA) scheduled for the 14th of March. I'd definitely have to redo my color before then . . . but if I redo the ash blonde, I'll probably lose my nerve and never try the brunette. Besides, if the committee meets me as a blonde and I suddenly go darker, won't that look frivolous? And if I did the brunette and didn't like it, there'd be time for my hair to settle down and I could redo the blonde before the 14th.

So . . . A week or so ago, I went to Wally World and bought the Box. Revlon "Colorsilk" No. 30 Dark Brown. Got it home, all ready to use last weekend when everybody was snowed in. But I kept looking at the picture and thought, No . . . bluish-gray highlights. What was it, again, that I thought about the shade my niece used? And I'm about to do the same? No.

So I took it back. And ended up with a (much more expensive) box of Clairol's "Perfect Ten" No. 5 Medium Brown.

And nearly took it back, when I got to wondering if it were dark enough. Maybe I'd not end up brunette, just brown!

But I didn't. And this evening, taking advantage of a choir practice cut short due to the threat of more snow, I took the plunge.

Not sure why, but the Clairol product seemed a lot messier than the Revlon. Maybe because it was for a darker shade? All I know is, I consumed most of the ten minutes you leave it on wiping dark brown splotches off the sink, walls, floor, faucets, and various other surfaces in my bathroom. I still haven't got it all out of the grout.

But how does it look, you ask?

Pretty good, I think. Natural enough on me that when I look in the mirror I think, "Ye gods, I have to do something about those bangs!" rather than "Oh my gosh, my hair's been possessed, That's Not MEEEE!!!!"

No pictures tonight, I'm sorry. I tried, but my camera made them over-light, even without the flash. Going by them, you wouldn't be able to tell much difference at all.

But there is a difference, and we'll wait and see who notices and what people think. And as soon as I get somebody to take some decent photos, I'll post a new profile shot on Facebook. And send some to Micki. Because really, it's all her fault!