Tuesday, June 18, 2019

May Memories

(I'm writing this for me. You can read it if you want, but mostly this blog has become a place where I post my favorite pics and people-moments, so I don't forget them. I lost my original May post, (5 hours of writing wasn't automatically autosaved), so I'm gonna put an abbreviated version here.)

Second Half of May, 2019

At work:

I have whined about our lack of an HR department only because we haven't had one exactly when I needed us to have one. One of my senior designers was taking a leave of absence for a year (to go on an exciting adventure) so I needed to find a replacement. (Well, OK, God needed to let me know who He had planned to be R's replacement. My job was to hear Him and see what He had in mind. But still. A HR person would've been helpful.)

I was pushed outside my comfort zone a number of times as I reviewed resumes, arranged/led interviews, looked over design tests, did a pre-interview screening call as well as an eventual post-interview reference call.

Living outside one's comfort zone is exhausting.

ANYWAY, despite my lack of experience, it was apparent that God had a lovely, highly skilled, very experienced young woman in mind for our lil creative department. And as per usual, His timing was very last minute. Despite have two months to find and fill the position, I knew, from past prayer requests, He'd answer on the last day. Such was the case again this time.

(To be completely honest, there were moments during the process that I found to be quite affirming. I know I'm in the position I'm in, at the organization I'm at, because He can use me and grow me here.)

So, on the Friday of the Maylong, I sent a contract to our candidate offering her a one-year position. And then I went out for a sushi dinner to catch up with a couple of designers from a few years ago:

I have worked with the mostest wonderful people; I love evenings like this.

After dinner, I drove Inca home to Vancouver, then drove up to Cultus for the weekend. Clint joined me on Saturday, Max came up on Sunday afternoon and Sean dropped by on Sunday night:

On Tuesday, she emailed me to let me know she was accepting the position. When I announced it during the our morning staff gathering, they all cheered. I grabbed my phone and asked them to cheer AGAIN so I could capture the joy. I sent the pic to Shu and told her we were excited for her to join us.

On Wednesday the creative team wished Cathy a happy birthday by devouring the chocolate mocha cheesecake that Amy baked

And on Friday, we celebrated with R as he finished up his last day with us for a year.

As is typical when I'm left in charge of planning a meal, pizza had been ordered.

I had asked everyone if they wanted to contribute to a coffee, cab ride, can of beans fund (so he'd have some local currency when he got settled in his new digs)... and was delighted that we were able to send him off with our prayers, our love and a fistful of Shekels.

It was a full week of saying Goodbye, Happy Birthday and YAY - We're Looking Forward to Working With You. The following week I had another one of those Monday morning Management Team Meetings as well as hosting two luncheons in the Boardroom where we heard Ted Cunningham talk about being a good listener. If you ever get a chance to watch/hear him speak - DO IT. He is wise and entertaining....

I ended the week watching Unplanned. A movie about the Abby Johnson story. She was the director of a Planned Parenthood Facility in Texas for 8 years (and she volunteered for 3 years before that.) She was a Baptist Christian who attended church faithfully on Sundays, and ran a clinic that performed a record-breaking amount of abortions on Saturday. It wasn't until, AFTER 8 YEARS, she actually assisted an abortion (and was holding the wand of the ultrasound, watching onscreen as the instrument dismembered then vacuumed out the body parts), that she realized what was actually happening. One minute there was a baby, with it's beating heart, sucking it's thumb and wiggling it's toes, and the next minute limbs were being ripped off and then there was nothing. A big black hole on the screen.

Abby, herself had had two abortions; the chemical kind. Where you take the abortion pill and 'the contents of your uterus is gently removed'. It was horrific. A blood bath.


Every single feel in my body was reacting.
I felt nauseous for hours afterward.

I ache for the women who believe they have no other option. That they are too alone, too poor, too tired, too old, too young, too busy, too unable to carry their baby to term. I ache for their desperation; their belief that this pregnancy will result in a child that will ruin their lives.

Women. Why aren't we coming alongside each other? Why aren't we saying, "I'm here. And I'll stay here. Babysitting, helping with housing, praying, making meals, bringing clothes, arranging playdates. I'll be an auntie when this little one becomes a teen and needs a safe place to hang out. Needs an adult to talk to. Needs a friend. I am here to rub your back and hold your hand. You. Are. Not. Alone."

Men. If you don't want the women you are having sex with to have your baby, GET A FRIGGIN VASECTOMY. If you don't want to have a child, THEN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT BEFORE YOU HAVE SEX. Come on already. Be responsible.

The abortion debate is not going to end any time soon. The month of May was filled with conversations, laws, demonstrations, information. The month of May was filled with so much anger. Women believing no man has the right to say anything about her body or what she does with it. Law Makers saying a baby can be aborted right up until just before birth, to other lawmakers saying anything with a heart-beat cannot be aborted. To people who speak for the unborn babies; saying they have the right to life.

My heart was sad all month. It feels like we, as a people, care more about baby seals than we do for unborn babies. We care more about chicken farming practices than we do about women in crisis.

I don't think we should be proud of the fact that more black babies were aborted than born in New York last year. That stat is an indication of so many things. One of them being that black momma's are in situations that doesn't allow them to rejoice when they find out they're pregnant. I think THAT might be the situation we need to address.

The debate will continue. It's not over yet. Roe vs Wade will be re-visited. We need to bring wisdom and compassion to the conversation. God help us.

At home:

The second half of May was also busy with not-work things. Back in November of 2018, I had a mammogram that detected a suspicious cluster of cells. I was to get retested in the Spring. In May I felt a lump while showering, so I concluded that my suspicious cluster had decided to grow itself into a gumball-sized bump (which I named Bob.) I made an appointment for a mammogram and blood tests right after Mother's Day, and knowing he'd want to chat with me about things, an appointment to see my doc that week as well.

The mammogram was painful this time ("Sorry!", the technician said, "That's pretty big lump, and I've got to squish it good so we can get a look...") and my doctor inflicted some pain as well. I have/had a thing on my elbow that just wasn't healing so he used that stuff that comes in a huge canister and froze it. Froze it good. "Let me know when you can't handle the pain," he warned. "Still OK?" "Can you handle it a bit longer?" "You're sure you're OK?" "Wow, you have a high pain threshold." "OK just a few seconds longer..."

It has taken 3 weeks, but it's finally all healed. My elbow looks lovely now. Totally worth it.

ANYWAY, back to Bob. As we (the technician, my doc and me) suspected, I'd need more imaging done, so I was called in for an emergency screening the next day. The radiologist required numerous pics from various angles, diagnosing each x-ray before requesting an additional set. Back n forth between the machine room and the change room, multiple times. Not surprising this resulted in an emergency ultrasound (for a better look) which happened the same day. (Can I mention that breast ultrasounds are now my favorite type of ultrasound. No need to drink a gallon of water. The wand remains external. You can lie comfortably on your back. And it's not a terrible sensation. I coulda stayed there, in that darkened room with pleasant music playing for a few hours.)

When I was done, I went back to work and waited for my doc to call me. As anticipated, I needed to see him the following day to talk about 'next steps'. Which was a consultation with a specialist at the breast (cancer) clinic. I asked if I could take all the paperwork over to the Jimmy Pattison Surgical Centre myself, (I absolutely do not trust the current system of faxing everything. In 2017 it took months for those fax machines to squeal at each other) which I did the following morning.

A few days later, an appointment was set up for me to see The Boob Guy on May 30, the day before I left for Palm Springs. He was young. Asian. Wore a showy suit. And had dyed his styled hair white. His roots were coming in, and he flipped his long-on-one side locks back as he entered the room. He looked about 17 years old.

He talked to me about the cluster of cells that had grown in size, significantly, since December. I said, 'Yeah, I know. I can feel it." He seemed surprised by that. "Where? You can feel it?" So I rubbed my fingers across my boob and said, "Yeah, here. I've named him Bob."

"But that's at 11 o'clock, the lump we're keeping an eye on is at 9 o'clock, and deep within your tissue." He had me lie down and he did a 1.2 second examination. "You're right. That is quite notice-able."

It was decided that I would need a biopsy. On both sites. Soon. (I'd named the growing, hidden cluster of cells Betty.)

I left the office with pamphlets about bumps and lumps and biopsies. All the material they gave me suggested that in 94% of cases, it ends up being nothing. So I decided to be 94% not worried. There was nothing to be gained by worrying anyways.

If I allowed myself to be worried/scared just 6%, that was about an hour a day. Which seemed excessive. AN HOUR. TO WORRY ABOUT ONE SPECIFIC THING? I decided to worry 1%. Which was about, what? 20 minutes? Maybe? Whatevs. Twenty minutes a day was it. I'd wonder what it'd be like to have them removed. Could I have my belly fat relocated up a few inches? Wondered what it'd be like to have my hair fall out. WHO AM I WITHOUT HAIR? Would I still feel like a woman? Would I still be Jane? Wondered what it'd be like to be told, 'you're dying'. Would it hurt? I'm OK being dead; I just don't want it to be in pain.

The next day I flew to Palm Springs.

While in California, they called with a date for my biopsy; I was to go in the following day. Hahaha. As if. So they suggested a few more dates and we finally settled on June 13. (Which was a few days ago. I've had the procedure; the team (two nurses and a doctor) were professional, friendly and informative. Will spare you the details and jump to the conclusion because ...

... apparently I'm like a kid when it comes to story-telling...

I'm fine.
Betty was a cluster of water-filled cysts and Bob was an old bruise/injury filled with blood and scar tissue. They biopsied both sites and he's certain everything is benign. "Great results from today's procedure" is how he put it.

I drove home from my appointment, stitched up and double frozen. (Frozen from the needle that froze me. And frozen from the icepack taped to my boob.) I took two Advil (which, if I HAD READ THE INSTRUCTIONS THEY SUPPLIED, would have noted that Advil is exactly NOT what I should have taken) (oh wells) and slept for the rest of the afternoon on the deck. It is exhausting being brave. It takes alot of brain work trying not to think about something for more than 20 minutes a day. It is overwhelming getting fantastic news. I was just so tired, yo. And grateful.

I knew that not all of u who were sitting in that waiting room in Corridor 5 were going to go home with good news. So as I dozed in and out of sleep, I prayed for those women who'd be getting hard news that day. Hoping they'd have friends and family to walk alongside them. Hoping the cancer cells got caught early. Hoping they weren't undone by their diagnosis.


A N Y w a y s ... the tail end of May also included some fun evening walks n talks. I didn't make it to the gym once, (which was obvious when my blood sugar counts came back. I really need to figure out a way to include getting out of breath by working my body hard in such a way that is fun and not time consuming) because I was out n about with friends doing things that filled my soul with happy.

I spent a couple evenings with friends at Kits. Just watching the sun set and eating snacks...

... talking about our jobs, our kids, our grandkids,

... our struggles, our highs, our lows,

our gardens, the books we've read, the sermons we've heard,

the dates we've been on, the brokeness of our hearts,

we talked about our moms. One friend mentioned how much her mom had grown and improved as a person in her later years. "The difference between who she was at 50 and who she became at 80 is inspiring. Despite multiple debilitating health issues, widowhood, financial struggles and other difficulties, she was generous, selfless, committed to helping others, baked and prayed for her neighbours, welcomed any and everyone into the community, had a heart for Indo-Canadians, served in her church, volunteered 3 times a week, made an effort to have a unique relationship with each member of her family, including in-laws, children-in-laws, grandchildren and grandchildren-in-laws. Every single person in her life was loved well. Her reach extended FAR past her family and deep into her community."

I hope, someday, my kids will be able to say the same things about me. That I ended better than I started. That I not only loved them well, but that I gave a shit about everyone God placed in my path.

In addition to beach sits, I also did a few seawall walks.

Where I caught Pokemon, took some pics,

appreciated the diversity in floral textures and colours,

and shapes and scents.

I love this city.

After walking to Granville Island we took the Aquabus back to Science World.

You should totally do it some time.

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. I get to keep my boobs.
2. Ultrasound machines.
3. Spring evenings.
4. The west coast.
5. Smart people.
6. My job.
7. My team.
8. My fam.
9. My camera.
10. My bed.


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