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It’s Hard to Be A Woman

February 5, 2014

It’s Hard To Be A Woman #12


January 3, 2014 – Photo by Amber Guidry of Serenity Salon & Spa


January 3, 2014 — Photo by Amber Guidry of Serenity Salon & Spa

After going to the gynecologist to make sure I wasn’t getting some new type of cancer to deal with and seeing the naturopath to fix my little thyroid problem a month ago, it was time to focus on my hair.

Because of #1 on my bucket list, I got the brilliant idea back in September to stop having my hair done professionally. Not only did I start dyeing it myself, I also cut it. I was so proud of myself.

Five months went by which meant I saved approximately $500. Outrageous, I know, but before you judge me, I do not go to gyms, I do not spend money on pedicures, I hardly ever go out to eat, I’ve never paid for a suntan, and I’ve never had Botox or plastic surgery done. Well, I’ve had a tummy tuck, but that was a “perk” of having breast reconstruction. While I’m glad now that I had that procedure done, during my six-day hospital stay, I cursed the day I was born.

Where was I going with this whole thought? Oh yes. Not only does hair not like being dyed repeatedly by a novice/non-professional like me, it does not like thyroid problems. My hair started breaking off in chunks. Not only the hair on my head, but my eyelashes as well. I have had all my eyelashes (and eyebrows) fall out before. I do not want to go through that again. 

I went back to my hairdresser, Amber, and she whipped me into shape. She was patient and understanding. And charged me a small fortune to fix my head.

By |February 2014|It's Hard to Be A Woman|

February 3, 2014

It’s Hard To Be A Woman #11

01_03_2014_cancer_funny_balanced_woman_hashimotosAfter my disaster at the gynecologist appointment, I made an appointment with Haley, the naturopath that got me through cancer. She was—and is—my shrink, my vitamin-supplier, my right-hand woman.
“So, Marie, it’s been a long time,” Haley said.
“Yeah. I’m really hyped up again. I know you said you didn’t think I needed thyroid medicine (the last time I saw you), but I was freezing cold. All. The. Time. I couldn’t function. I went back to Joe. Remember him? He’s the naturopath that saw me before I got cancer and started coming to you. It was nothing personal. I just wanted to get a second opinion.”
She looked at me, pen poised in the air, but said nothing.
I continued my rant. “I also started taking that Balanced Woman stuff even though you told me not to. I even called TriVita—the company that sells it—to see what they thought. They said I shouldn’t take it either because of my past breast cancer history. Joe didn’t think it was a problem. I don’t know. I just want to be balanced hormonally….”
I jabbered in her ear some more. I could hear how hyper I was. Here I was, making a fool of myself two days in a row. When will this all be over? Speaking from personal experience, unfortunately, I have at least a few more weeks of this madness.
“Okay. First of all, let me see what you’re taking.”
I handed her my Balanced Woman bottle. I’m sure she looked at it, looked at me, and wrote down in her chart: “This woman is as far from balanced as you can get. Wish she would have stuck with Joe.”
She turned to me. “Well, I can see from this bottle”—she glanced over the ingredient list—“that there are several things in here that are stimulating. These herbs are probably fine for other women, but for you right now, they’re too much.”
She was very gracious. She could have stood on her chair and yelled at me, “I told you not to take that stuff! However, I did tell you to take the Cell Guardian—the natural form of Tamoxifen I was giving you—but you never listen to me. You always know better than me.”
Out loud, she advised. “Stay off the thyroid medicine. Armour extract is not standardized. You don’t really need it.”
She recommended a few more things.
Ah, it was good to be back. I hoped she could fix me.

By |February 2014|It's Hard to Be A Woman|

January 29, 2014

It’s Not Always Hard To Be A Woman


Photo by Jonathan deHaan

After my doctor appointment with the new gynecologist, my mom, Adriana, and I went out for a little quality time.

We shopped at Value Village (where I bought four shirts for under $20.00), zipped over to Macy’s (where I bought a nice Sunday sweater, a red hoodie, and a beautiful green jacket), ate French dip and chili at Red Robin, and watched the movie, The Book Thief, which ran from ten o’clock to midnight.

Of course, I babbled the entire time (due to my Hashimoto’s thyroid problem)—even during the movie.

It’s a good thing my mom and daughter love me, or they might have muzzled me.

By |January 2014|It's Hard to Be A Woman|

January 28, 2014

It’s Hard To Be A Woman #10

12_30_2013_cancer_funny_gynecology_screening_thyroidIn It’s Hard To Be A Woman #9, I recounted the shock I felt December 29—almost a month ago now—on realizing I had once again entered “Thyroid Crazy Land.”
One short day later (after the shock had worn off a bit), I was on my way to meet a new gynecologist.
If you read my book, you will remember that when I first found the lump (which I thought was a cyst), I did not panic and go get a mammogram right away. Instead, I went to have a pap smear and “while I was there,” I asked Dr. Morrison to take a look:

“Well, you’re right, it’s probably just a cyst,” Dr. Morrison said, observing my insides up on his screen. He frowned.
“It sure hurts,” I answered. “What would you do? Surgically remove it? Lance it?” I felt a shiver go up my spine at the word “lance.”
“I think I’m going to send you for a diagnostic mammogram.”
Before I knew it, I found myself not only getting a mammogram, but an ultrasound and an extensive biopsy in rapid succession.

I have not been back to Dr. Morrison since my breast cancer diagnosis almost five years ago. It’s not his fault. I love him. He delivered two of my babies (well, maybe I should say he had to yank them out through my stomach because they weren’t coming out the old-fashioned way) and we got along great. As much as one can get along with one’s gynecologist.
I’ve mentioned before how sick and tired I got of doctor appointment after doctor appointment during that dark time in my life. Gynecologic care just didn’t make the cut.
Fast forward several years to December, 2013, and in addition to earnestly trying to prevent a recurrence of breast cancer, I was trying to make sure I didn’t end up with some other hormonal cancer and if I did, I wanted to catch it early.
“Hello? I’d like to make an appointment with Dr. Morrison,” I said calmly into the phone.
“I’m sorry. Dr. Morrison is no longer here,” the receptionist replied curtly.
“What? Where is he?” I asked in shock. Doesn’t he know he’s supposed to be at my beck and call?
“I don’t know, Ma’am.”
Oh yes, you do. You just don’t want to tell me.
A few short days later, I found myself sitting in the office of the new gynecologist, this time a woman. Her name was Dr. Susan Rivers and I liked her immediately.
“So, Marie, tell me why you’re here,” she directed, glancing down at the paperwork in her hands.
I immediately started to babble. Uncontrollably.
“Well, I really miss my old gynecologist, Dr. Morrison. Do you know him? I suspect he’s retired. Do you know where he’s at? Because, of course, I suspect all of you gynecologists here in town get together and have coffee all the time. You know, the receptionist over at his old office didn’t want to tell me where he was. It’s not like I’m going to stalk him. I just really want to give him a copy of my book. You see, I had cancer several years ago and during the whole wretched experience, I wrote a book—I still don’t know how I pulled that off, to be honest—and afterward, I gave a copy of it to all the other doctors I had: oncologist, surgeon, naturopaths—there were two of them, an old one and a new one—and let’s see… I gave a copy to the guy who did my breast reconstruction. Hm. What was I saying? Oh yes. I need to find Dr. Morrison. He was the doctor for two of my babies. Before I got cancer. I really liked him. I realize he has a life, Dr. Rivers, and would probably like to enjoy his retirement and everything. It’s just that I feel like I have a bit of a mental block about his office and that time in my life when I first found out I had cancer, because as you know, that visit didn’t go so well. It’s like I have some unfinished business….”
Oh. My. Goodness. This really was going to be another one of my thyroid episodes. What was I even here for? Maybe instead of this pap smear, I should have checked myself into the nearest lunatic asylum.

By |January 2014|It's Hard to Be A Woman|

January 26, 2014

It’s Hard To Be A Woman #9


With Rose after the Bethany Covenant Christmas program of December 8, 2013. I was oblivious to what was about to come. (Photo by Jonathan deHaan)

In my last post, I told my readers (that would be you) that I would have some interesting stuff to post this week. Hm. Where to start?

It all started December 29.

I was on my way to Bethany Covenant Church to play piano for the morning’s worship service with a wonderful vocal group of women called DaySong. I had been “thrown together with them” for the annual Christmas program earlier in the month.

I was excited to play. The song, “Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song),” really is beautiful.

During my twenty-minute drive, I kept thinking, Man, why do I keep having to concentrate so hard on the road? I can’t be late. DaySong and I need to do a sound check… was that a stop sign? I know I’ve been up since 1:30 this morning, but good grief…. Suddenly, it hit me. I was hyper. Again. Nooooooooo.

What was all that baloney about “I’m never taking thyroid medicine again” that I told myself back in March of this year when it happened to me then? I was sick and tired of dealing with this Hashimoto’s. Sometimes, I think it’s right up there with suffering from breast cancer. Not quite, but still annoying.


With Ken at the Bethany Covenant Christmas program of December 8, 2013. We were both oblivious to what was about to come. (Photo by Jonathan deHaan)

Somehow, I got through the performance. Somehow, people were edified. Me? I was a basket case.


By |January 2014|It's Hard to Be A Woman|