Friday, March 12, 2010

The Strange Man. The Wright Brothers. The Biopsy.

Last Monday, the whole family went on an outing to the Wright Brother’s Memorial When we arrived, Sarah and Meagan started strolling cheerily toward the building.


Suddenly, without any warning whatsoever, a Strange Man appeared behind them and began lurking suspiciously in their vicinity. I lowered the camera and gave The Girls a secret hand signal which translated means, “There is a Strange Man behind you. Beware!”


Of course, as soon as they turned to look, the Strange Man pretended to be interested in something else.


The Girls discussed their options. Do we acknowledge him or do we just walk away and ignore him?


Walking away won.


The Strange Man was devastated, as you can see. Poor, poor Strange Man.


Once the girls had shaken off the Strange Man, they enjoyed looking at all the exhibits inside the Wright Memorial. Here is Sarah with an exact replica of the first plane ever flown.


She and Steve looking at some pieces of the original plane that were taken on a flight into outer space.

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When we got outside, Steve and his dad discovered this iron replica of the original plane with Wilbur (remarkably well preserved considering his age) still faithfully flying!


It was fun to see Ken (Steve’s dad) standing in front of the “contraption” that was the forerunner of all the jets he flew in his career as an Air Force fighter pilot.


I really learned a lot during that visit; it turned out to be much more interesting than I had anticipated. It amazes me how those few seconds in the winter of 1903 so radically change the whole future of the entire world--all because two guys had the courage to dream and the determination not to give up.

I’m inspired!


Update on biopsy:

My family doctor was in charge of scheduling me with a surgeon for a biopsy. She highly recommended that, due to my complicated history, I go to a surgeon who specializes in only breast diseases/surgeries, as opposed to just a general surgeon.

And so I have an appointment scheduled in Greenville (2 hours away) on Tuesday morning for a consultation with the surgeon to see what kind of biopsy he recommends.

I got a copy of the radiologist’s report for my own records and after some research discovered that there are “Assessment Categories” called BiRads. On a scale of 1-5 (five being the most serious), I am at a Level 4.

  • Category 4 /Suspicious Abnormality - Biopsy Should Be Considered

These are lesions which have a definite probability of being malignant. The radiologist has sufficient concern to urge a biopsy. If possible, the relevant probabilities should be cited so that the patient and her physician can make the decision on the ultimate course of action.

There was also another area of concern on the radiologist’s report which I won’t go into right now, but suffice it to say that it’s all a little worrisome.

I’m just trying to remain at peace and remind myself that all the worrying in the world won’t change a thing.

Of course, it helps quite a bit that the birthday package I got from my sister contained copious quantities of chocolate.

Heaping helpings of prayer and chocolate. An unbeatable combination.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Son, The Yacht Builder

I’m sorry that I seem to be completely and psychologically incapable of keeping myself from posting pictures like this one. It’s just that I get so very exceedingly happy that the keeper of those keys (and wallet) is sleeping under my roof that I can’t keep myself from rejoicing at every little sign of his presence. Hence the picture. Accompanied by rejoicing.


This next picture was taken a few hours later when Steve’s dad, Ken, was singing in church. When he had finished his song, Steve surprised him (and me) by having all three of us do an unrehearsed trio together. It’s a good thing that a pastor’s wife’s middle name is “Flexibility.”


After lunch and our requisite Sunday afternoon nap, the seven of us took off for a tour of a nearby yacht-building company. We were led on our tour by Joey, a member of our church, who is in charge of installing all the electronics on the yachts. Joey gave us a close-up look at one of the “smaller” yachts they’re building—at 56 feet long, it costs a mere two million dollars and will be used for “sport” fishing. In other words, fishin’ just for the fun of it. For two million dollars!

(Joey took the rest of the family on a much larger, more expensive yacht but Sarah and I had to leave for an appointment so we didn’t get to see that one.)

It was interesting to hear Joey describe the people who order these yachts; he said that in thirty years of doing electronics, he has rarely met a customer who was very happy with much of anything. For example, he said he put in $100,000 worth of electronics on a yacht for one particular guy. A week later, the fella went to a boat show and saw someone who had fancier electronics on his yacht so he told Joey to rip out all his electronics and put in some that were “nicer.”

Hmmm. Those stories sorta make me happy I’m not rich. Give me a thrift store visit, a chocolate bar, and a good book and I’m a happy woman!

But anyway, here are some pictures from our visit.

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Of course, no tour of a yacht company is complete without Ye Older Brother giving Ye Younger Sister a wee little ride on the hand truck.


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After the hand truck go-round and the viewing the yacht from the floor, we all gingerly ascended the wooden staircase so that we could actually board the yacht.



I was especially fascinated to see the inner workings of these incredible machines.


Nathan, being the 20-year old wild guy he is, decided that he would climb all the way to the very tippy top of the very tippy tall yacht. I admirably refrained from passing out in a flailing fit of Worried Mother-ness.



Steve’s mom did some of my worrying for me. Once a mother, always a mother!


Finally it was time to go back down the stairs to solid ground. Oh happy day.


Oh, and by the way?

Nathan found a job yesterday. A brief window of opportunity opened and he slid right in and got a job. First interview. First stop on the job trail. He was in.

And just what is Nathan going to be doing during his summer spent in Manteo? He is going to work at that very company we toured. The one that builds multi-million dollar yachts. Yes. My son, the yacht builder. Sniff. I’m so proud.

Maybe for my NEXT birthday, he’ll build me a yacht. And I’ll take it out sport fishing. Except I don’t fish. And I don’t know how to run a yacht. And I don’t even love the water.

Hmmm. Maybe I should just ask for a candy bar instead.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Frozen Bait Au Gratin. Mammogram Results.

I have 4,325 pictures to post and 2,594 little ol’ stories to tell of Recent Events in the Lives of the Smith Clan. I guess maybe I need to streamline things a bit.

First of all, for those of you who made valiant (and mostly correct) guesses about the photos posted yesterday, I’ve included the photo descriptions at the bottom of this post.

And now, I’ll start from the beginning of our “Family in Town Week” and over the next few days, take you on a few pictorial journeys concerning some of our activities.

We had told Snowy several times last week that “grandma and grandpa” were coming to visit. He loves hearing the words “grandma and grandpa” (because they sneak him treats) and he gives us a major head tilt every time we say the words.

Here he is, established by the front door in order to be the first person in the greeting line.


Then he thinks he hears a noise. Could it be them?


A head tilt follows accompanied by earnest pondering.


He thinks, “I’d better get up and take a look. I’d better scope out the situation. I’d better secure the perimeter. I’d better . . . um. . . I think I lost my train of thought.”


And this is where Snowy forsakes his greeting duty altogether and ambles into the kitchen for a perusal of any recent crumbs fallen to the floor. Disciplined focus is not his gift.


While Snowy was meandering about, I was busy planning recipes and making menus. For me that requires a lot of stuff, including a calculator which lets me know if my cuisine dreams are budgetarily feasible, or not. Always better to find that out before getting to the check out counter!


When I got the to grocery store, I saw a sign I had never noticed before.

Frozen bait? Really? Surely frozen bait is only found in grocery stores near the ocean. Anyone else (away from the ocean) ever seen that sign? For some reason, it just struck me funny. “Hello, family members! Tonight I am going to be serving you Frozen Bait Au Gratin.” Doesn’t it make you just want to come and have dinner with us?


What we had instead was a wonderful new chicken dish that I will post a recipe for later on.


Finally, the moment came and the Parents of the Parson arrived.


Hugging ensued.


And then Snowy got to accompany Grandma and Grandpa into our new house for their very first visit ever! (He’s trying to check over Grandpa’s shoulder to see if Grandma is coming. He’s very thoughtful like that.)


. . . to be continued.


And now for a bit of news about my mammogram:

After the preliminary pictures were taken, the technician asked me to wait while she showed them to the radiologist. The technician arrived back and said he wanted magnifications done of a certain area on the left side. Those were done. I waited some more. For a long time.

Finally, the technician arrived back in the room, followed by the radiologist. I have discovered that it is usually not a good sign when the radiologist shows up in person, instead of just sending cheery little messages back via the technician like, “Everything looks great. You’re good to go.” I have a pretty dismal record when it comes to hearing those kinds of happy reports.

The radiologist told me that that he saw micro calcifications that are “a serious concern.” I guess what makes them a concern as opposed to “non concerning calcifications” is that they are smaller than “regular” calcifications (which are almost always benign), are isolated and have irregular shapes.

So. An appointment is being made for me to consult with a surgeon for a biopsy. The radiologist is hopeful that the biopsy can be done stereotactically which would be much less invasive than a surgical biopsy. My family doctor should receive the report today and will start getting the wheels in motion.

I was told by a doctor a while ago that since my breasts have a long history of manufacturing abnormal tissue, at some point along the way, one of those would probably eventually be cancer. And every time I go in for a mammogram I always think, “Is this it? Has the time come?”

Am I concerned? Yes. Have I cried? Yes. Is it ruining my day? Nope.

I’ll keep you posted as we go along; thanks so much for your concern and prayers.


And now, the descriptions of the pictures posted yesterday:

Pictures 1 and 2 and 5: Eating my birthday meal at a local restaurant with Steve’s parents and Nathan and Meagan. Also, the view out of the window of the restaurant.

Picture 3: the breakfast that Steve and Sarah prepared and delivered to me to be enjoyed in my pajamas

Picture 4: Sarah is part of a group that is doing a drama/interpretive movement presentation on Easter Sunday. It involves each participant using sticks to act out a song. Sarah did her part of the song for the assembled family (and Snowy) in honor of my birthday. It was so special!

(If you can't picture what I'm talking about, here's another group that did the same song, using the sticks. It is really creative!)

Arise, My Love

Picture 6: The Hugging of the Relatives Ritual

Picture 7: The first night Nathan was home, I came downstairs early in the morning and saw him sleeping on the couch with one foot hanging out. I took a picture just because I was thankful for that foot! (And especially thankful for the College Dude attached to it.)

Speaking of the College Dude, he is out right now, diligently searching for a summer job. This afternoon, he has a doctor’s appointment for follow up blood work related to his thyroid issue. You can be sure he’s going to eat something this time so we don’t have another Collapsing College Dude incident!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Mammogram Blues

Thank you for all the birthday wishes yesterday; it was a fun day. (I'll write more about it later.)

Today is not feeling quite as happy since I woke up singin' The Mammogram Blues. I’ll head out in just a couple moments for that wonderful, wondrous, wonder-why-I-have-to-do-it appointment. Mammograms are always fraught with multiple layers of worry and anxiety because I have such a complicated history in that area. (For new readers: I was told in 2008 that there was a 90 to 95 percent chance I had cancer in one or both breasts. I’ve also had numerous surgical biopsies and procedures for all sorts of suspicious findings over the past 15 years.)

And so I will leave the house with a bit of trepidation but a lot of faith that God and I can handle whatever the day holds. I guess that’s a good reminder ever day!

I have oodles and oodles of pictures and stories to share from the past few days but for now (since the mammogram machine is callin’ my name) I’ll just leave you with a couple “teasers.” In my absence, you are more than welcome to try and guess what each picture is about. Never let it be said that Smithellaneous doesn’t provide its readers with all sorts of high quality, scintillating entertainment!




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Monday, March 8, 2010


How can I be turning forty-eight today? It was just yesterday I looked like this. (Don’t you just love that quirky, recalcitrant curl on the right side of my head?)


And this. (I’m the oldest of the three sisters)

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And this. (Thankful I don’t look like this any more. Yikes! That was obviously my awkward stage.)


Just for the purpose of comparison, here’s Sarah around the same age. I think I was a (very) late bloomer.


A few years later, I looked like this. Our singing group could have been called, “Steve And The Ladies With Glasses.” (Those are my two sisters, by the way.)image0-4-1

At any rate, rather than drag you on a long, ponderous stroll down my own personal pictorial memory lane, I put together a collage of The Seasons of Becky. Try not to snicker too loudly as you view them!

. becky collage

I have lots more to write about but for now, since I’ve got my parents-in-law and Nathan and Meagan in town, I’m going to sign off and start celebrating this fact: although I’m older than I was, I’m not as old as I’m going to be.

Um. Wait a minute. Is that something to celebrate? I’m not sure.

I guess I’ll go ahead and celebrate anyway, just to be on the safe side. (And yes, the day will include chocolate.)