Flash Fiction (Exhaustion)

I had my idea for Carrot Ranch’s 99 word flash fiction topic right away but couldn’t quite get it right. I tried four different versions before settling on this one. Still not sure it conveys what I am trying to say. But I will be kind to myself this week and just go with it.

“The 36 Hour Day”

Last night’s game had gone thirteen innings followed by a long flight across the country.  A 5:00p first pitch the next day left no time for a nap. 

The radio announcer found himself giving an involuntary snort of laughter over the airwaves. An unexpected foul ball in the booth started the infectious chuckling.  The announcers couldn’t look at each other for fear of bursts of mirth escaping.  Their words came out strangled with laughter.

Punch drunk with exhaustion the radio announcers lost it in the seventh inning.  Baffled listeners were confused, not recognizing sleep deprivation when they heard it.

May Madness

As happens sometimes I have decided to shake things up a bit. I have been disappointed in myself with my writing of late. Worry over my menopausal issues, the transition to summer heat and greater demands on my parenting patience and energy and have left me feeling quite apathetic. I feel the need of a challenge. A challenge all my own. And so “May Madness” has been invented. I will write everyday this month. First opportunity I have each morning. In an added burst of insanity I have decided to only address topics that begin with the letter “M”. Why? Cause alliteration is cool? Because I am weird? To up the challenge a bit? Yeah, that last one sounds good. 🙃

In mid-April this seemed like a great idea. And then I wondered what to do about a photo. My site is set up in such a way I really do need a featured image. What to do? Learn something new! I spent an afternoon listening to Cubs baseball (a win!) and creating powerpoint slides, saving them as a jpeg and then adding them to my media library. I decided to keep it simple with clipart flowers. Flowers suit the month of May. I could have used my own flower photos but for whatever reason I felt like using drawings.

So tomorrow the potentially maddening mission begins.

More on the Rock

I think menopause is like childbirth. Once you are on the other side all the gory details quickly recede from memory.” – Tracey: April 17, 2019

So I had my follow up appointment with my doctor and it went very well. For one thing she explained about how in the last appointment she could really only do the pap smear because the insurance company won’t let you schedule one appointment for two things, like talk about menopause and a pap smear.

So we had a good talk about all my symptoms (which I had written down and she made a copy of) and she did the biopsy and scheduled me for an ultrasound later in the week. And she said we will see a lot of each other until we get things figured out.

ONE WEEK LATER

I get my results back from various tests:

  1. My FSH level is now 12. (Up from 6.7 last time, down from 22 two years ago.)
  2. My ultrasound showed three fibroids.
  3. My ultrasound also showed a 7mm thick lining of the uterus indicating I am not in menopause.
  4. My biopsy showed polyp cells.

MY INITIAL REACTIONS

  1. Considering how bitchy I feel right now I am sure another FSH test today would be back in the 20’s.
  2. Oh, these must be the culprits of all my woes!
  3. What? I never thought I was in menopause.
  4. What? I thought I was being tested for endometrial cancer.

REACTIONS AFTER SOME THINKING AND A BIT MORE RESEARCH

  1. FSH is not rational. And how does one manage Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) if your levels are all over the place?*
  2. Something like 70% of women have fibroids and mine seem pretty small (if I remember correctly) so probably not an issue.*
  3. Ah, I think the doctor was making sure I wasn’t in menopause and all the bleeding was caused by polyps/fibroids. It would be pretty funny (not) if I actually was in menopause already and just didn’t know it.
  4. Well, maybe I was tested for cancer too but she was looking for polyps which she found. Am I the only one who hears biopsy and thinks cancer? *

I am writing down all my questions so I don’t forget anything.*

From the on-line ‘Sketchbook Revival’ I am participating in.

ONE WEEK BEFORE THE NEXT APPOINTMENT

I must confess I think I am secretly hoping she says, yup, you need a hysterectomy. How does May 20th sound? (After bowling season ends and just before school lets out.) Perfect. And then we’ll set you up with HRT and by Flag Day (June 14th) you’ll be right as rain. But I am pretty sure major surgery is not going to be the first option.

My biggest fear is that I will spend months/years being miserable while various drugs and uncomfortable procedures are carried out and in the end I end up getting a hysterectomy anyway.

In the meantime I am surviving one day at a time. I’ll watch “Poirot” and work in my sketchbook and listen to Cubs baseball.

AFTER THE APPOINTMENT

It was a good visit despite being 30 minutes late. My doctor had two patients in labor so I didn’t get upset. Even crazy hormonal me can’t be mad at tiny babies trying to be born. And once the appointment started she was very focused and explained everything. I got all my questions answered and we have decided on a course of treatment: I am getting a hysterectomy!

I have a large polyp in a bad place and something about a clearly visible blood vessel feeder. So that is why I am having such long/heavy bleeding. I could just have the polyp removed but then I couldn’t have HRT and there is a chance I would just get another polyp. I can’t have HRT because of the fibroids. They are small now but HRT may make them grow and then they would cause bleeding.

By having the hysterectomy I can have HRT for my other symptoms. I won’t have to worry about uterine cancer (another potential HRT risk), fibroids or polyps and no more periods!

Once the insurance company gives the okay I will schedule the operation. It is done robotically, four small incisions, one night in the hospital and about 2 weeks recovery time. I won’t be able to drive for a week or two or swim for four to six weeks. I am dithering between before or after our planned summer vacation.

After the surgery my doctor and I can figure out the HRT. Apparently the FSH level is ignored and she goes strictly by symptoms. So it sounds like there may be some trial and error there.

There is a plan, an end in sight. I am sure once I schedule the surgery and it gets closer other feelings will be generated but for now I will enjoy my feeling of relief.

I don’t know why but I am absurdly happy with this sketch.

Travel Bucket List

As I wrote about in this Good Things list I have done a lot of traveling. Being in the military can do that for you. But I still have a few places to go and things I want to do:

  • Hot air balloon ride
  • Visit those last two states on my list: North Dakota and Mississippi
  • Explore the Florida Keys
  • Vacation on Mackinac Island, Michigan
  • Take a ship across the Atlantic and explore the Lake District in England. I want to visit the places of Beatrix Potter, Agatha Christie and Jane Austen. (Susan Branch’s book “A Fine Romance”, that is what I want!)

I am pretty hopeful about the first four. (I was planning to go to Mackinac Island fall of 2001 but 9/11 changed my plans.) Not as confident about the last one. I have a hard time picturing myself driving on the wrong side of the road and navigating all around England on tiny cart tracks. Maybe I could do a tour of some sort?

It feels good to still have dreams of adventure and to know that my traveling days aren’t behind me, yet. When they are I will have some glorious memories to keep me company.

The less traveled road.

Good Things Thursday: Travel Edition (And an early Photo Friday post!)

Our spring break trip to Santa fe was pretty low key. In truth we slept a lot. My son was in a growth spurt, spouse had a cold and I was my normal hormonally unstable self. We went to bed early and got up late most days. Halfway through the trip I realized I was okay with a trip that involved a lot of resting, especially since I had been to Santa Fe before. I thought about all the traveling and wonderful adventures I have had in the past and how it would make a great “Good Things” travel edition list. And then I decided it really need a few photos and it was so hard to narrow down so it is also like a Photo Friday post. So here we go:

  • I have been to 48 of our 50 states. Only North Dakota and Mississippi left.
  • Countries: Canada, South Korea, Oman, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, England, Egypt and of course the United States. ( I decided not to count airports in Ireland, Spain and Japan.)
Saudia Arabia, 2002

  • I have eaten lobster and blueberry pie in Maine, she-crab soup in Baltimore, deep dish pizza in Chicago and steaks cooked over an open wood fire in the south of France.
  • I have been white water rafting, sky diving and zip lining.
Hard to believe I am free-falling in this shot!

From my first trip to Santa Fe, 1997.
  • I drove the entire Going-to-the-Sun Road through Glacier National Park one fourth of July weekend. In a convertible with the top down and the heat on no less.
  • I have seen Mt. Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Yosemite National Park and “Old Faithful” erupt at Yellowstone.
Mt. Rushmore, 1995
  • Let’s not forget the sequoias and giant redwood trees in California
  • I’ve dipped a toe in the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Lake Ontario.
This would be the Pacific Ocean
  • I have been to professional baseball, football, basketball and hockey games and a few Nascar races.
  • I have been to a Broadway show in NYC (Rent).
  • I have ridden the Polar Express to the “North Pole”.
  • I have strolled through the Tate Modern in London, the Georgia O’Keefe museum in Santa Fe, the recreated home of Zane Grey and the CM Russell museum in Great Falls.
  • I have ridden the rides at Disney Land, Disney World, Worlds of Fun (Kansas City) and Hershey Park.
Disney Land for my birthday, 2015
  • I spent Christmas in England one year.
  • I’ve ridden Amtrak from Chicago to Tucson.
  • I have been to the DMZ (de-militarized zone) between North and South Korea (Panmunjom) and even into some of the tunnels dug during the war. (Those guys were short!)
  • I have seen the pyramids and Sphinx in Egypt.
The Sphinx seems kind of tiny next to the Pyramids.
  • I have been to the site of the western most battle of the Civil War, Picacho Peak, AZ.
I had no idea the Civil War was fought this far west!

This list is not all inclusive, more of a highlights reel. I still have a few places I want to visit and things I want to do. But I will save that for another post.

Keep your focus!

Flash Fiction (Beggars Can’t Be Choosers)

I am not sure if I was inspired to write this from the photo of a cute Westie-ish dog on Carrot Ranch or my spouse who always says “no beggin’ dogs at the table”. (While Charli’s topic was meant to have a more serious bent on choices I felt the need for humor this week. So I chose light-hearted and fun. Charli is right, having a choice is always a good thing.) Either way my wonderful dog Sherlock is the star in this week’s 99 word entry for Carrot Ranch. (Sorry for the slightly blurry picture. I was too tired to set up “the shoot” again and most likely wouldn’t have done any better anyway. My subjects were not particularly cooperative!)

“No Beggin’ Dogs at the Table”

I couldn’t catch the rabbit no matter how fast I ran.  Darn, I was hungry.  My twitching paws woke me up and I looked at the clock but I had never learned to tell people time.  My stomach gurgled. I yawned and stretched and then trotted through the house sniffing for small child.  Ah, he was at the kitchen table.  He smelt of peanut butter and yogurt.  I licked his foot but found nothing tasty there.  I was impatient but settled on the floor under his feet where food was sure to be dropped.  I hoped it was bacon.

Santa Fe (Photo Friday)

For Spring Break most people go looking for warmth after a long, cold winter. Not me of course. I go looking for one last blast of cool before settling into a desert summer. This year we went to Santa Fe and it was chilly and sometimes sunny and sometimes spritzy with rain. I loved it.

I don’t think a giant metal dog needs any words!

Veteran’s cemetery.
if you looked in the other direction there was blue sky
During our hike slightly up in the mountains we had thunder, sunshine and light snow, at one point all at the same time! Crazy wonderful.

It was a very laid back vacation with not much planned but we did go see Meow-Wolf. I have to say it was quite the unique experience and despite the crowds I am glad we went.

From the much hyped Meow-Wolf
Meow – Wolf
Meow -Wolf

Keep your focus!

Flash Fiction (Fire)

This week’s prompt from Carrot Ranch immediately made me think of a campfire. My favorite time of year to go camping is in the fall. I suppose this is rather a riff on a “Good Things” post. I closed my eyes and imagined my family sitting around a campfire up at Aspen Campground on the Mogollon Rim. (Alas, the photo is actually from a spring trip to the Grand Canyon, the best I could do.)

Autumn Camping Joys

Crisp air

Achingly blue skies

Trees full of red and yellow leaves

Crunching leaves underfoot

Legs pleasantly aching after a long hike

Sizzling hot dogs over the fire

Laughter as yet another marshmallow bursts into flame

Smoke scented air drifting up

Hands stretched toward the warmth

Darkness falling

Stars emerging

Ghosts stories making you glance over your shoulder

Crackling logs

Steaming mugs of tea and cocoa

Sparks snapping

That drying leaves smell

Bursts of flames from pinecones

Snuggles under a fleece throw 

The hooting of an owl

 Moonlight shadows

Feeling the joy of togetherness under a vast sky

Contentment

Flash Fiction (Eminence)

Eminence: a person of high rank or position or a lofty place

Here is this week’s entry for Carrot Ranch. There just may be a touch of fantasy in this scenario!

I dragged myself into the kitchen and apathetically checked the fridge.  Spouse and small child would be home soon and looking for dinner.  That was part of my “job”, cooking, meal planning, grocery shopping. I could feel the surge of pre-menopause hormones coloring my brain.  I wasn’t even hungry, why should I cook dinner?   I checked the freezer. The emergency frozen pizza had already been eaten this week. I started to cry and told myself, “enough”.  The eminences would have to fend for themselves this once. I retreated to the couch and a movie.  “Double Indemnity” suited me perfectly.