Monday, July 22, 2013

Continuing Adventures in Breast Health

Last year was the first year in several that when I had my annual mammogram, the radiologist didn't request an additional sonogram while I was there. Nevertheless, my breast specialist wanted me to go ahead and get the MRI six months later just to keep an eye on things (because I'm officially a high-risk candidate to develop breast cancer, donchyaknow).

I had the MRI done in February, which was a couple months late thanks the delayed arrival of "Aunt Flo" during that period of time (no pun intended). That was all clear too, although I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the round and round with my former employer's crappy insurance company trying to get the claim submitted properly. (Side note: thanks to the recent change in my employment status and Mr. Remarkable Monkey's as well, we are now once again covered by a decent BCBS plan through his employer. Thank heavens!)

So last week, I went for my annual mammogram. I wondered if my luck would hold or if I would need a sonogram as well. The tech said no... the Rx was written for just a normal screening mammogram, so they wouldn't be doing any additional imaging. This was the first time in several years that the Rx was for a "screening" mammogram and not a "diagnostic" mammogram. I believe when it's written as diagnostic, they can go ahead and do any additional imaging if needed right then, such as sonograms. "Screening" vs. "diagnostic" can also make a big difference to some insurance companies when it comes to covering it 100% as an annual mammo. I learned that the hard way.

Well yay for me then, right? I figured maybe they're now familiar enough with all my usual lumps and dense tissue that they don't need all the extra imaging they've done for the past several years. I bounced out of the breast center confident that the results would be nothing other than "Yep... all good," and maybe I could even skip the MRI this December.

Fast forward to this afternoon, when the breast center called. "The radiologist saw a suspicious asymmetry in your right breast. We need to do more imaging." Oh joy. So basically, I have to go back in for them to squash my right boob some more to investigate said asymmetry. "We may also need to do a sonogram. Your breast tissue is very dense."

Ya don't say! Duuuuuh! This has been a known fact for years. Now, if the Rx had just been written as a diagnostic mammogram to start with, they could have done all this while I was there last week. Maybe they didn't because my current plan doesn't cover diagnostic? I thought BCBS covered it as annual either way, but maybe they don't? Who knows. All I know is now I have go to another appointment at the breast center. **siiiigh***

It's not so bad. As I've said before, the place has been remodeled and it's gorgeous! It looks like a high-end boutique hotel lobby. Check out these pictures....

I think this is actually the lobby of the NICU unit, but the breast center's lobby looks pretty much like this too.

This is one corner of the large inner waiting area... the one where you get to hang out with the other ladies in your lovely pink hospital gown top while waiting for them to call you back for the actual boob squashing.
A view of the other side of the large inner waiting area. There's also an INNER inner area with changing rooms and lockers, and a bathroom, and a small alcove with a sink, water cooler, and teas... and sometimes crackers.

Yes! It was this issue!
I am not making this up!
Pretty, isn't it? But ya know what those photos don't show? The old, beat up magazines available to help you kill time while you're waiting. They're not all old... some are from the past year or two. But get this: when I was there last week, I enjoyed flipping through an issue of Vanity Fair.... FROM SEPTEMBER OF 1997! I kid you not... Renee Zellweger was on the cover, with an article about how she's Hollywood's next big thing since she had recently appeared in "Jerry Maguire". (Yeah...THAT prediction was dead on... Not.) Seriously?? You spend a lot of time and money creating this beautiful, lush space for the patients, but you can't spring a few extra bucks for some magazines that aren't 15 years old? Really???

I found it hilarious. But maybe that's just me. I'm actually sort of looking forward to my additional appointment next week, despite the inconvenience of having to make a second trip... I think I saw a 1999 issue of People somewhere in the stacks of magazines. I need to catch up some celebrity gossip.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What the Heck Is Wrong With People?

Yeah... it's been over two months since the last post. Wow! Time flies, kiddies! Quick update: workflow has been steady, interspersed with periods of craziness, so the freelancing is still going swimmingly... knock wood and big thanks to my regular clients who have kept the work coming! (But usually I'm too dang frazzled to sit down and compose a blog post on the rare occasion that I actually have the time to do it! Guess I need to work on that.)

So, in the past couple months, it seems like there's been a lot of stupid racial stuff and intolerance going on in the news. Why is it that skin color is still such an issue in this country? First it was the Cheerios commercial. I cannot believe that some people were upset that the spot featured a family who happened to be biracial. Now, I'm not naive. I know that there are still a lot of racist idiots in this country, but I guess I didn't think that having a mixed-race couple in a TV spot would generate such an outpouring of hatred. Kudos to General Mills for not pulling the ad, and for their stance against the bigots and malicious small-minded clods.

I have hope for the future though. Check out this short from the Fine Bros., where they asked kids what they thought about the commercial and about the racist backlash it generated. Warmed my heart.

Then there's the Paula Deen N-word controversy. She admitted in a deposition on another matter that she had used the N-word in the past. (You can read the whole deposition here if you want.) It was very small part of the deposition, and she also said that she used the word when she worked in a bank (so it was DECADES ago) in reference to a bank robber who had held a gun to her head, and possibly other times but not in a hateful, directed way.

I don't condone her use of the N-word, but I kinda think the whole thing was blown out of proportion. She wasn't spewing the same kind of hatred that the commenters on the Cheerios youtube page were. She just used a word ages ago that was commonly used back then in the deep south. It doesn't excuse it, but at least she was honest about it. And while I think there should be repercussions (because she IS a public figure after all), the corporate reaction may have been just a little too harsh. But maybe not... the N-word is such a hot-button issue that her corporate partners may have felt they had no other choice but to sever all ties like they did.

Why IS the N-word still such a hot-button issue? Why is it that the N-word has so much negative power when a white person says it, but not when a black person does? If it's such a negative word, shouldn't everyone avoid using it? And why is it that slurs for other races and ethnicities don't seem to cause such a media uproar? Aren't they just as bad as the N-word? Again... it just seems stupid that something as random as skin color can cause people to hate each other. Wouldn't it be great if nobody would ever used those words? Or if they didn't carry such hurtful connotations? In a perfect world, friends.

Most recently, there's the George Zimmerman trial. I'm not sure how much of that tragedy stemmed from racism, or how much of the not guilty verdict did either. Maybe none. And while I don't think Zimmerman should have been found guilty of murder (because it didn't appear to be premeditated), I do think he should have been convicted of manslaughter or negligent homicide. After all, the confrontation -  no matter who started it - never would have happened if Zimmerman had obeyed the police 911 operator's instructions not to get out of his truck and follow Trayvon Martin. In that way, he's responsible for the death that occurred. That may be the basis of the Martin family's civil suit, should they elect to bring one.

But news involving intolerance isn't just race-related lately. Why are people so opposed to same-sex marriage? Just like with skin color, why should gender matter to anyone else other than the two people involved in the marriage or relationship? What's it to YOU, Bub? Seriously. A group called the "Alliance Defending Freedom" tried to block the legalization of same-sex marriage. Did you get that? The group is called the Alliance Defending Freedom... and yet they don't want gay couples to be free to marry. Ironic, isn't it?  Just more small-minded bigotry. They say they're defending freedom, but only if it's THEIR brand of "freedom". What are they afraid of? Opponents have said that allowing same sex marriage would undermine the sanctity of "traditional" marriage between a man and a women. I don't see how it possibly could, but maybe it's just me.

I hope someday we can all see people for who they really are instead of seeing their skin color or their sexual preference, or their financial status, or their political affiliation or their religion. I just don't understand why some people have such a problem accepting others solely because they're different in some way. One of the kids in the Fine Bros. video said right... people should be judged on their character and their personality, and nothing else.

I know it's not just me, but I wish there were more of us.