8 November 2017

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Surgery has been accomplished! I have good news, although I have to say that the entire ordeal has raised more questions than it answered.  Firstly, the OB/GYN used a tubal camera to view my left ovary and saw that there was no cyst. Had I been awake for this procedure, I would have reminded him that just a week ago I had experienced sharp pains there and had called his office fearful that the cyst had ruptured. Remember that one of the top two reasons for going forward with surgery was that if there was even just one malignant cell hiding in the cyst, then that cell would be released into the cavity and cancer would spread.  In fact, the top reason for taking the ovary was to prevent accidentally releasing cystic fluid during the surgery, and reduce the risk of spreading potentially bad cells.  After looking at my ovary, he concluded that the cyst resolved in some way –or the ultrasound was wrong to begin with. Occam’s Razor.

Because there were no remaining cysts, the doctor decided to leave the ovaries intact. He speculates that whatever cysts had been there previously were “old, slow growing cysts,” and that my now post-menopausal ovaries shouldn’t produce any more. I think I was more stunned by that decision more than anything, because The Original Plan was to prevent a future chance of developing ovarian cancer. Now I will have to be monitored for months to come to ensure that cancer doesn’t develop. I’m not particularly happy about that. Stamps feet, I wanted it to be over.

On the bright side: I survived surgery with no complications, I am at home resting comfortably, and the surgery bill won’t be as high. Another bright side is that I can obstensibly stop blogging about my health issues! Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief!

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4 November 2017

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Word of warning about this post: I’m in a weird rambling mood and have a lot on my mind.

Autumn has arrived. Halloween is over and the slate is wiped clean.  What I mean by that is I’ve erased all the sketches on my white boards at work. People have asked me to draw something Thanksgiving-ish, but I don’t like that holiday. I’ll come up with something.

Along with my recent health issues, there have been several other things going on with my family that have caused some stress. As a result, I’ve been having nightmares. One nightmare was where both Cara and Kaitlyn died in car crash. This was a particularly awful nightmare and it left me emotionally fragile and grumpy at work the next morning. Then later that same morning (yesterday) I found out my half-sister Phyllis Ann passed away.  This hardly feels real.

I don’t know her exact age, but she was somewhere in her late 70’s and had recently been diagnosed with dementia. I wasn’t close to her, in fact the first and only time we ever met was here in Southern California. It had been a wonderful day where I sat with her and her husband Dave at a teahouse near Carlsbad and tried to catch up on life. She was born to my father and his first wife. He was always fond of her and proud of her accomplishments. He kept in contact with her and her husband Dave, even though they had moved to New Jersey eons ago. Prior to retirement, they ran a successful business creating media for corporations and managing talent, and Dave was himself an actor. He is still a member of the guild I believe. It saddens me deeply that we were never close, but I will always cherish what memories I have of her. It also saddens me that I may end up being flat on my back, recovering from surgery, instead of traveling for her funeral services. Speaking of, I am learning that Dave himself is in very poor health and so there may be only a quiet service or none at all.

I am officially now just a few days away from surgery and I have to say I did pretty much everything I could think of to get out of it. The GP ordered the CA125 test, which thankfully came out negative. I had a very enlightening pre-op appointment with the OB-GYN, who insisted politely that I was “menopausal.” Honestly, I couldn’t say I had experienced a lot of symptoms. You know I had some night sweats a few years ago and some leg/foot/toe cramps, right? My hair and skin is dryer than it used to be. Is that it? Is that the big sum of it? I watched a co-worker suffer through intense hot flashes. While I was cursed with horrid monthly cycles and anemia the majority of my teenage/adult life, I think I got off easy in menopause. I still didn’t quite believe the doctor, because the big overarching question remained: why are my menopausal ovaries making cysts? We had a lengthy discussion about that and came to an interesting new conclusion regarding the mysterious right-sided pain symptoms: I must have had a cyst on the right ovary that had ruptured, BUT by the time I had the ultrasound done all of the fluid had been absorbed by my body, and thus there was no trace of it in the scans. Regardless, just to be sure, he ran the blood test to evaluate the exact state of menopause. The test results say I am 100% post-menopausal. Well, because there is a cyst, one that could rupture, or torse the ovary, or hide malignant cells, I definitely need the surgery.  Sucks, but there you are.

All of these past couple months, the idea of death in some form has been thrust into the spotlight. Two of my brothers have suffered ill health and have brushed close to their own deaths. Then the scary dreams, and now my sister is gone. It’s really brought home to me how little time we have in this existence. Life is fleeting. I literally wrote that on my white board Tuesday after I erased all the art.

What do people know of me? What would they say about me after I’m gone? Only a handful, I think, really know me deeply. I’ve always wanted my readers to be curious about not just the topics I write about, but who I am. Not once in nearly 10 years of this blog’s history has anyone asked why I named it Caffe M~Path. Today I will pretend you asked.

It started as an outlet for thoughts rattling around in my head and my desire for an online presence. I wanted the blog to be comforting, so designed it to resemble a coffee shop. I imagined my favorite coffees on the menu, a table that was either secluded in the back for private conversations or one seated in the sun. The blog’s atmosphere is a vague mix of metaphors: classic Italian names, British literature, and a few flavors of Australia. Possibly even more obscure is the word M~Path. I used the math symbol ~ which means “approximate to.” M refers to two things, one of which is M Theory, which is a string theory in quantum physics. Path refers to another physics term, “path length”.  The other side of the coin is M~Path is another way to say “empath.” Before I launch into an explanation for that, read This Link on quantum entanglement and string theory.  Quantum physics is easier to accept than “empath.” There is a difference between having or feeling empathy and being what is known as an empath. Are you up to more reading? Check This Link.  I liken being an empath to having empathy on steroids. I can’t say with any certainty that I am an empath, but I can say this: I have an unfortunate ability to suffer pain when I either know a person is hurt or hurting, or even at the idea of them hurting. I feel pain. It isn’t pain in the same place as theirs, or what is called mirror touch. It happens in certain parts of my body regardless of where their pain is located. If I am very emotionally close to a person, then I can often feel them from a distance. Our thoughts can be in sync. Sometimes my moods are affected by the mood of random people around me. This is particularly annoying at work if a co-worker is feeling panic. I don’t handle someone else’s panic very well. I have to shut myself off from feeling their panic. My only explanation for that is to think of quantum entanglement, and that may or may not be accurate, but I find comfort in thinking it is.

So there you are. The story of Caffe M~Path, a little bit of backstory on me, and if you clicked the links you learned something new.. maybe.

20 October 2017

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Left, not right.

I had my GP doctor appointment yesterday. He told me that the cyst is on my left ovary. I was so stunned that he double checked the scans. Why didn’t the OB-Gyn tell me? Why did he say that my left ovary would not need removal because it probably isn’t even functioning (due to menopause)? If he had told me it was the left ovary, I would have asked a very important question: what is causing all the pain on the right side? It was the right-sided pain that brought me to the doctor to begin with.

The GP also pointed out that the gyno had ordered the CA125 test but I hadn’t done it. Why, he asked. Good question! Well, no one told me to get blood drawn. In fact, the gyno said it wasn’t necessary as the result wouldnt change his course of action (surgery).

I don’t know what to think about all this. Did the gyno make broad assumptions and fail to read my chart? That’s not the kind of doctor I want to perform a complicated surgery on my body. The GP said depending on the outcome of the cancer marker test, we could then do another blood test that will determine if I’m indeed in menopause. I don’t have a monthly cycle because I had the lining of my uterus removed in 2010, so its difficult to tell if menopause started, and I haven’t had much in the way of classic menopause symptoms. This is a key factor in determining whether surgery is necessary. A non-menopausal ovary can create simple cysts with no cause for alarm, whereas a menopausal ovary should not, and one must suspect cancer as a likelihood. At the very, very least the gyno should have already ordered that blood test, instead of just assuming I’m in menopause due to my age.

Unfortunately, the CA125 test results won’t be available until probably Monday, so stay tuned!

19 October 2017

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Innocence. I remember when Bruce Hornsby sang about its untimely end, and back then (unlike now) I really didn’t know what that loss truly meant. The 1980s are considered my lost decade for a very good reason. However, 1989 was a particularly memorable year. It was considered a “turning point in political history” as a wave of revolutions arose that culminated in the fall of the Berlin Wall. That November day, when close to if not more than a half million people gathered in East Berlin to demand change.  Just remembering that time brings to mind another song that to this very day sends chills through my body.

Take me to the magic of the moment on a glory night, where the children of tomorrow dream away, in the wind of change…

Have you ever seen that music video? It’s incredible. There is real video footage from the moment the Wall “fell.” Why was it even built to begin with? The story of its invention is interesting, and the parallels can be seen today. The victors of WWII had divided Berlin into four sectors, obstensibly in an effort to prevent another Hitler from emerging. But the Communist-Capitalist Conflict would instead divide the land mass of Germany into the Federal Republic of Germany (West) and the German Democratic Republic (East). The West aligned with NATO while the East allied to the Communist Warsaw Pact.  Meanwhile the capital city Berlin remained under joint occupation and there was little in the way to prevent East Germans from defecting to the West in search of a higher standard of living and more personal freedoms. 2.5 million mostly young people fled to the greener pasture, leaving “brain drain” and a labor vacuum in their wake. During the summer of 1961 the exodus reached critical mass. The Communist government of the East gave unholy birth to the famous wall on “barbed-wire Sunday.”  It was doomed from the outset, and it did finally die in 1989.

1989 was also the year I had a nightmare about the war with the Middle East playing out on US soil. 1989 was the year I had another dream about leaving for California with my little blonde daughter, five years before I actually had that little blonde daughter and eight years before I did in fact leave for California.

Fast forward to the present, right before I sat down to write my blog post about a completely unrelated topic, I learned that protests have popped up in our country over “safe spaces.” Do you know what a safe space is? I actually didn’t, and had to look it up. It sounds a lot like my office, in fact; and if you’re employed by someone other than yourself your workplace will be the same. Its an ordinary place where violence, harassment, discrimination and hate speech aren’t tolerated. Groups of people who are ordinarily targets are able to exist and go on with their lives without overt fear.

But, somebody out there is so filled with internal misguided hate that they can’t even allow their favorite punching bags a brief reprieve. Might I remind these fools that freedom isn’t about the right to be hurtful. You aren’t practising your freedom of speech by bullying others. In fact, freedom of speech only protects you from the federal government prosecuting you for voicing an opinion. Don’t confuse that with the misconception that you can freely commit hate crimes, etc.  Don’t allow your heart to fill up with so much negativity that you can’t even allow another person to just be. As has been demonstrated over and over and over in our world’s history, this kind of personal and physical wall DOES NOT SUCCEED.

If only those same bullies could experience what it’s really like to be on the wrong side of the wall, maybe they would learn what true freedom is, and why it’s worth fighting for.