Feb. 22: For realsies, even more + other stuff

wait My oncologist called this past week and said she and the radiologist decided to biopsy that thing in my throat after all. They’ll be doing an ultrasound-guided biopsy, and I have no idea how that’s different from the one I had in ‘09, which was done with CT, but I’m pretty sure it will hurt and I will not have fun.

The biopsy is scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday, February 26. I was supposed to meet with the oncologist that day to decide on treatment, but we moved that appointment to Monday, March 3.

I’m thankful that everything suspicious is being checked thoroughly, and I understand that that takes time… but it doesn’t mean I can’t be frustrated that this whole thing is being drawn out even further. Sooo… I hoped to have some news to share on Wednesday, but it’ll be a week from Monday instead. Grrr. Also: pfffftt.

On the side of the bright, Victor and I are away from home for the weekend. Don’t try to steal crap from our house though—my mom is there with the kids. Tomorrow is our anniversary (17 years!) and we’re celebrating with a little shopping, a movie in a real theater, restaurants, and probably a lot of falling asleep in front of the hotel room TV. In fact, if none of the rest happens, I’d be OK with that. We’re old and tired.

This is the first year that our anniversary happening the same weekend as the elementary school carnival is no big deal, which is all kinds of awesome. The awesome part is that we actually get to celebrate our anniversary ON our anniversary. It actually isn’t awesome (to me) to miss the carnival. I kinda love that carnival. It’s always a butt-load of work for PTO (but not me this year!! YAY!), but is such a fun event. Vic is not even a little bit sad to miss the carnival—as a PTO husband, he was given a lot of grunt work. In fact, I don’t think he misses much about PTO at all.

I’m suddenly kinda mad at him.

But not so mad I’ll go help at the school. Sorry, Wendy.  :)

Sales at Dear Girl ~ Jewelry with Intention are going really well. I’ve sold quite a bit on etsy, but I’ve had people come to my house and poke around in the warehouse (my hall closet) and buy that way, too. I’m having a lot of fun with the whole thing, and I’m grateful for friends who have pinned my stuff on Pinterest because I’m starting to get sales from people who found me that way. Thank you, thank you, thank you to those of you who have purchased, and for the rest, I hope you’ll take a look at the store. I can do custom orders, too, so let me know if you don’t see something that’s perfect because I will totally make you a perfect thing. I will. I can.

I suggested that part of our anniversary celebration could be a tour of all the bead stores in town and Vic didn’t go for that AT ALL. My next husband will enjoy beads more. And he won’t snore. Or be a mean drunk. Or beat me with sacks of oranges. Or stomp on my dreams.

Yesterday Mother Mary got to meet Max, her great-grandson. I love to say that she’s a great-grandmother. It makes her sound ancient and that’s fun!


He is just the sweetest little cuddle-bug. I loves ‘im.

Also, look in the background—do you see the liquor cart? I’m sure Erin & Kevin will have to put theirs away when Max starts crawling toward the shot glasses, but our kids are past that age so we’re safe—our kids can just walk right up and drink straight from the bottles. (BEST. PARENTS. EVER.) I am so gonna add this Leave It To Beaver-esque feature to our living room, pronto. Maybe that’ll be our shopping quest for the weekend.

Pics I’ve been saving to share with you because I loooooove you:




Scary how much Google can figure out from what you type in the search box, huh?


I think I want this friend:



I usually do these little-bit-of-everything posts on Fridays so I can use my shirtless Ponch pic, but this is Saturday, so here’s non-Friday-lovin’ Ponch because I couldn’t bear to upset Fancy Lori™. She likes her Ponch.


That’s all for now. Laterz.


Feb. 14: More medical stuff

Here’s the latest:

In my last update, the ENT had just put things in my nose. He didn’t see any cancery kind of stuff in my throat, but ordered an MRI to rule it out completely. The MRI was yesterday.

When you’re going to have an MRI, every medical-type person you have contact with asks if you’re claustrophobic. What they should be asking is if you value your ability to hear sounds with your ears. The MRI I had a few years ago was on my lower back; this one was on my head. And guess what? My ears are also on my head. My ears do not work anymore because MRI machines are the loudest thing in the entire universe and my head was trapped in one for 30 minutes.

hearingaid Seriously, when they give you the squishy foam earplugs that fall out the second you put them in, and you say it’s no big deal and you’ll be fine without them, you have no idea how much you’re lying. You are a lying liar who lies, that’s what you are. And you’re about to need to learn sign language.

I don’t understand why the machine is so loud. Like, why scientists haven’t done anything to make it quieter. I can’t be the only person whose first words after the procedure were HOLY SHEE-AT, THAT WAS HORRIBLE. I don’t know why everyone is so worried about claustrophobia when that’s far from the worst sensation a patient can experience.

Fortunately, good news followed that awfulness: the MRI results were what we were hoping for; there are definitely no signs of cancer in my throat. The ENT called me today to say so.

The oncologist is taking the MRI results, along with my PET scan and bloodwork, to the “tumor board” (her team of specialists) and they’ll determine the best course of treatment. That will happen on Feb. 25, and we’ll go in Feb. 26 to hear her recommendation. So that’s where we are now… and it’ll be nearly two looong weeks before we know anything else.

That’s the most frustrating part of all this for me right now. Back in 2009, things moved relatively fast once we knew I had cancer. This time, though, it’s just so much waiting. Doctor after doctor, follow-ups, tests and waiting for results… Ugh. I just want to get treatment started so it can be over. The uncertainty is making my anxiety sky-high(er than normal).



Feb. 12: Stuff Jen Makes

Dear Girl Logo small Pretty please, I gots a favor to ask of you.

Since my upcoming medical treatments are still a mystery (but will most certainly zap me), I’ve stopped looking for full time work. Instead, I’m spending my days being creative, and I’ve opened an Etsy store to sell my handmade gemstone goodies: Dear Girl ~ Jewelry with Intention. Feel free to check it out. You’re even invited to shop. But here’s what would really help:

  • If you have an Etsy account, mark my store as a favorite. You can also mark individual items as favorites, too.
  • Tell your friends about Dear Girl ~ Jewelry with Intention (more on that below). Send them a link to my store, or pics of the jewelry you like most.
  • “Like” the Dear Girl Facebook page. This will get my store updates in your news feed, which you can then share with your Facebook friends because you’re so awesome. Then they can like it and share it with their friends, and so on and so on. Yes. I love you for doing that.
  • This is the big one: PIN my store items on Pinterest! It’s a great way to help people find my store.

So, here’s the deal with the jewelry I make… I use gemstones in most of the pieces, and I choose gemstones that will be meaningful to the wearer. Of course, everyone has a birthstone. Some moms wear the birthstones of their kids. Garnet isn’t just January’s birthstone; it’s also considered “The Gem of Friendship,” so if you’re looking for something to share with a dear friend, I would definitely recommend a piece made up of garnets. There are metaphysical properties for every stone, like how they’re used in crystal healing, their folklore, their traditional symbolism, etc. Every one of the stones I use is supposed to “do” something. Whether you believe it can actually “do” anything is up to you, but isn’t it more special to wear jewelry that has associated characteristics, especially when they’re chosen just for you?

I think it is, and that’s why I started being creative with gemstones. Now I make necklaces, bracelets, earrings, lanyards, pendant watches, bookmarks, and more. You’ll find a good selection in my Etsy store, but I also welcome custom orders. Let me know what you want and we can work together to create the perfect piece for you.

I also try to keep the prices affordable. I saw a Smithsonian catalog at the doctor’s office this week and was shocked to see $260 necklaces—one had about $3 worth of gemstones in it! Yikes. The least expensive Dear Girl items are those made with glass or acrylic beads—those are the ones I make just for the pretty of them. :) The priciest Dear Girl items are multi-strand necklaces made up primarily of gemstones, or items with precious-er gems. :)

Here’s the text of my store description:

I've always loved sparkly things, but I became fascinated with researching gemstones after my father died. He had worn an onyx ring, and I wanted to get a piece of onyx jewelry in remembrance of him. I was surprised to read that onyx is commonly used by crystal healers for grief therapy. Wearing that onyx made me feel a stronger connection to my dad.

I studied further and discovered that most gemstones have a variety of healing properties and ancient uses associated with them. Some of those metaphysical properties are common--a diamond represents constancy in a marriage, which is why diamonds are traditionally used in wedding jewelry--but more are known for their historical uses by ancient civilizations and advocates of crystal healing. Wait, CRYSTAL HEALING??? Does that sound like voodoo and witchcraft to you? It sure did to me!
Here's the thing: you don't have to be a wack-a-doo to believe rocks have power. I mean, clocks run on the energy from quartz crystals, so there's *something* in them. Like the idea of keeping a positive attitude to make yourself feel better, or carrying a lucky charm, the jewels you wear can make a difference. And if it turns out there really *isn't* anything to them, you've still got something pretty to wear, right?

Unless clearly stated otherwise, my gemstones are genuine. Many are still in their rough, natural state, but some have been cut and tumbled for sake of the pretty. I like the pretty. Occasionally I use glass beads, but will always say so.

My creations are combinations of stones that I feel represent something for the wearer ... bracelets of morganite (sisterhood) and garnet (friendship) for women on a girls' weekend (maybe throw in a little amethyst, which ancient Greeks believed protected them from drunkeness!) ... malachite and sugilite for a friend facing cancer treatment ... ... azurite and white quartz for students (mental clarity) ... for book clubs or other gatherings of like-minded people, fluorite and spirit quartz (positive group interaction) ... emerald and topaz for someone feeling the effects of age ... peridot and citrine for new business owners (prosperity and fortune) ... jade and moonstone (mood-balancer) for the new mother ... green garnet and onyx for someone making their way through a divorce ... birthstones, of course (January=garnet, February=amethyst, March=aquamarine, April=diamond, May=emerald, June=pearl, July=ruby, August=peridot, September=sapphire, October=opal, November=citrine, December=turquoise or tanzanite) ... mothers' jewelry containing their children's birthstones ...

I'm glad to make custom items--just email me your ideas and we can come up with something together.

Disclaimer: I am not a physician, nor am I a crystal healer. The properties and purposes of the stones I use in my jewelry pieces are shared here for entertainment purposes only. I have collected the data from books and numerous web sites. Folklore and reputed healing powers of these gemstones should not replace proper medical attention.

I have a small batch of pieces I’ll be listing later this week. Here are some of my current favorites:

This is a close-up on a multi-strand necklace made of rose quartz and pink opals.
It’s sparkly and love-y and will make you smile.


My “BFF bracelet” is made up of garnet, peridot, iolite, and morganite—stones that represent sisterhood and friendship.


Here’s a close-up of a necklace made of aquamarine and black onyx beads.
I love the combination of colors, and the shiny onyx twist beads are especially unique.


This is one of my favorite pieces because of its varying textures and gorgeous colors.
The green chips are peridot, the dark red saucers are garnet, and the light blue beads are aquamarine.
Together, these stones are perfect for someone who’s dealing with an extra big pile of stress.


OK, I’ll shut up now. Any way you can help me promote my creations is VERY much appreciated! Thanks so much!


Feb. 5: Medical update

Just an update on the medical stuff, not so much because it’s interesting but because I’m lazy and don’t want to try to remember who I haven’t shared the latest info with already. Also, I promised to post updates here so my stalkers can keep track of me.

kraken I saw the ENT yesterday, and he stuck a camera thing up my nose. Waaaay up my nose. Like, up my nose and down into my stomach. Possibly just my throat. Whatever—it was weird but also kind of awesome because I got to watch it on the teevee and my vocal cords totally looked like the kraken and also the doctor didn’t find any cancer or tumor-like things and that was the whole reason I went there anyway so it was all good except for the thing that went in my nose because I didn’t like that at all but NO CANCER IN MY THROAT = yay.

In other words, it seemed unnecessary to do a biopsy when there wasn’t any suspiciousness to biopsy. The biopsy wouldn’t have been done yesterday anyway, as the doctor said it requires surgery under general anesthesia (yikes). I asked why the spot on my throat glowed on the PET scan if it’s not really cancer, and he explained that because that area is part of the immune system, and I had a bad cold at the time of the scan, the spot was inflamed and acted different from regular tissue. So, even though he’s pretty sure everything is as it should be, to completely rule out cancerous tissue in my throat, I’m going in for an MRI next week.

I have an appointment with the oncologist a few days before the MRI, but I have a feeling it’ll get rescheduled. The appointment was to talk about the biopsy results on my throat.

Going forward, the oncologist will probably want to biopsy the spots in my pelvis. I’m not excited about being awake for that.

That’s the newest news, as promised. Yaaaaawn, right?



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