June 16, 2018

It just got real

Orientation has arrived. 

Today, I logged into the student portal to find the links to the orientation modules and recommended webinars.  I also saw my degree plan.  If I keep to their suggested plan, I will graduate by December 2020.  Of course, I can speed this up a bit if I want, and I probably will. 

June 6, 2018

The waiting game

I completed a half-marathon the other day.  It wasn't my best time--3 hours and change--but it was one of the most fun ones I did because I met up with a sorority sister from our running group.  She's a better runner than I, but she was also recovering from an injury and was more than happy to keep me company for the 13.1 miles.  We both enjoyed it so much that we've already registered for next year's race.

Meanwhile, I decided that I was going to go full-bore crazy and register for my third half of 2018.  This one will be in November.

As far as post-race condition goes, I have a bad blister on my heel and I think I'm going to lose a toenail...again.  But I'm in a lot better condition than I was after the one in March.

So school begins on July 1.  I'm supposed to start orientation on the 15th of this month.  I'm just waiting for it to start.  I tried looking for some good books for nursing education students, but almost all of the results that turned up were NCLEX-related.  The rest were for nursing education instructors developing curriculum for students.

I applied for the scholarship at work.  I'll know in July.  I got some positive feedback on my application so I'm optimistic, but not overly so.  So I'm waiting to hear on that.

Meanwhile, I want to apply for the WGU scholarship.  I wrote my director asking if she would be a reference, but I haven't heard back from her yet, and it's been nearly a week.  So this weekend, I'm going to ask someone else if they're willing to do it.  While I'm waiting, I'm fine-tuning my answers for the application.

May 25, 2018


Good news:  the results are negative.

I hadn't been around for a bit because we were short at work, so I was dealing with that.  I was also coming down with something...not sure what it was as I had no symptoms but an incredible urge to sleep a lot.  Plus I decided that I needed to try and stay away from Dr. Google, lest I go down every rabbit hole I find.


During the mammogram, they spotted the growth in the left breast.  OK, I know about that.  But then they became very interested in something spotted in the right breast.  The breast that my PCP felt and didn't find anything in. And they reminded me that I have very dense breast tissue, which can make spotting things difficult.  I'm not sure if that was meant to reassure me, because it damn well didn't.

Then to ultrasound.  The technician finds both critters.  Left growth:  4mm.  Right growth:  7mm.  She doesn't seem too concerned so I try to relax.  Then again, she's not the doctor reading it.  Speaking of which, the doctor reads both, but I'm told nothing.  So I go home.  OK, I'll read about it later. 

That evening, I check my patient portal to see if the results are up yet, since my PCP is pretty good about posting things same day.  And I'm thinking that if there was a problem, they would have told me ASAP, or had my PCP tell me ASAP.  But they didn't so everything must be OK, right?

No results posted.  And I checked like a madwoman all weekend but still, nothing.  At one point, a coworker advised me to take the medical app off my phone because that wasn't going to make the results appear over the weekend.  So I decide to Google things...and yeah, that wasn't a good idea.  After a day-plus of torturing myself with every worst possible scenario, I decided that I needed to shut the computer--and app--down and focus on the task at hand:  work. 

The results were up Monday morning.  Both are enlarged lymph nodes and both appear benign.  Thanks for playing, see you next year.  I guess they're just going to monitor it yearly.  I'm relieved...until I Google what enlarged lymph nodes mean.  And back down the rabbit holes I go, but I managed to break away from Googling it after half a day.

Please, for the love of Doritos, if you are waiting on any diagnostic test results, step away from the computer and try (I know, easier said than done) to wait for the official word from your PCP!!!

May 18, 2018

Today is the day

Diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound.  I've been sitting around in my robe since I woke up.  I'm not allowed to wear any deodorant, antiperspirant, lotion, perfume, etc.  So I'm trying not to sweat.  I'm also grateful that it's one of those rare mostly-overcast California days, as wearing sunblock is also out.  I've got my biggest hat and sunglasses ready.

It's scheduled kind of late in the afternoon, which is lousy as I have to work tonight.  But I'm planning to request a medical excuse note while I'm there so I can call off tonight if things run too long or if I'm too drained.  I prefer not to call off, but I also don't know how I will be feeling after this.


One of my LVNs is into complementary/alternative medicine.  She actually takes courses in it.  She counsels all of us in various aspects of CAM.  I participated in one of her class assignments where she had to read my chakras...and you know, for all the symbols she saw in me, not one was a sheep.  Go fig.

Anyhow, I told her about the tests.  She gave me some sage advice about relaxing and not rushing to make any hasty decisions.  She also gave me some frankincense oil to rub on the site, and some positive affirmations and guided meditations to perform daily.  She also offered to come along with me, but I felt like I'd be poor company for anyone to deal with.

I've always been open to CAM.  They may not be the be-all end-all, and they may not be a guaranteed cure.  They help--or are at least neutral--more often than they hurt, so provided this isn't an immediate life-or-death matter, I'm willing to try.  I don't expect CAM on its own to stop hemorrhaging or restart a heart in asystole, but it couldn't hurt when it comes to being one of many treatments for a breast lump. 

I've been using the oil a lot--I'm into essential oils, and I figure it definitely couldn't hurt.  I need to remember to do the affirmations more. 

The other half has been testier than usual.  This is his way of coping with anything that potentially affects my health.  I try not to take it personally...but as I'm also more sensitive than usual right now, I'm not doing very well at it.

It's going to be a long afternoon.

May 17, 2018

Well, I guess I'm committed now

I paid my first tuition bill.  In full.  This will take me through the end of the year.

School still doesn't start until July 1.  Orientation will be during the second half of June.  In the meantime, I'm lurking on some WGU support groups, both general and nursing-specific.  I'm also getting some necessary supplies:  PERRLA and Grammarly.  I heard that both are invaluable when it comes to APA and writing at the graduate level.

I also told my manager.  I had to:  I'm applying for that work scholarship because I found out that nursing education students were in fact eligible.  Part of the application process is a recommendation letter from my manager.  She already submitted it, so now I have to do my part.  I also need to approach someone else about my recommendation letter for the WGU scholarships.  I think I'll ask the director and see if she'll do it.  If not, I have a few other candidates in mind.

The scholarship writing workshop I was supposed to do this week was cancelled and rescheduled for next week.  Right after that class, I'll finish off my scholarship applications--this one as well as the WGU ones--and submit them.  Then we wait and see.

I'm getting kind of excited here.

In all, two people now know about my graduate school plans:  my manager, and a coworker who is in an online NP program.  He's half my age...yeah, I feel old.  I told him one night in between giving patients IMs...yeah, that was a bad night.  It was nice to talk to someone who is also going to school online.  He gets what I'll be going through.  And he's heard of WGU and it's been nothing but good things.  I asked him to keep it on the QT for now, and he has. 

Now that my manager knows, I wonder if it will get out.  I didn't ask her to keep it quiet, so if she were to share the news, I suppose she wouldn't be in the wrong.  Still, I don't think I'm ready to make a full-on announcement about it to everyone.  I'm still not sure why I feel this way.  Though if I did manage to win one of the work scholarships, it will become public knowledge like it or not.

May 3, 2018

Fair warning

I guess I ought to warn regular readers--all 2 of you, though there are few more that follow on occasion--that this breast thing is probably going to take over here for a while.  This is one of the places in this world where I process my thoughts and emotions.  If you don't want to come along for the ride, that's cool:  just avoid the posts tagged "health" for a while.

Maybe I should have done that exam...

We usually eat Chinese food on Wednesdays.  Well, I eat Chinese food on Wednesdays.  Everyone else has pizza.  My body has decided that it no longer approves of large quantities of dairy, so while I can get away unscathed if I eat one slice of pizza, more than that isn't kind to my stomach.

Today, I opened the two fortune cookies that came with.  One fortune was:

"You will be fortunate in everything you put your hands on."

Maybe if I had done the exam and found the lump, it will turn out to be nothing.

I'm not spazzing...too much.  The odds are definitely in my favor that it will be nothing major.  1 in 8 women get the joy of breast cancer, which means that 87.5% don't.   And even if it is an issue, medical advances have come rather far that the odds are successful treatment are in  my favor as well.  I've had two biopsies that were benign.  Twice, I was one of the 87.5%...

Then again, I was in my 20s.  Now, I'm in my 40s.   And there's that old superstition about the third time of things being not-so-lucky as the first two.

I'm thinking back to several weeks ago, when I felt pain in...wait for it...the left breast, right about where the lump is.  I didn't think anything of it as it was there only for a few days, was intermittent, and was right around the brassieres-no-longer-fit-right time of my cycle.  Now, I'm wondering, "what if..."

I need to go play some Minecraft and relax.