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Many things in my life have changed, some in extraordinary ways that I never could have predicted. More change is coming up in the next few months. Change, change, change. I’m hearing Patty Griffin singing those words. As often happens to me, I’ve been having a lot of anxiety associated with all the changes, even though many of them are spectacularly positive.

For one, I’m engaged. For all of those who read my blog 3 and a half years ago, the bigger surprise is that you’ve heard of him. I am so happy and excited for our future. He’s the best and I’m totally in love with him.

For a second change, I’m moving in with my fiance to Brooklyn. Leaving the hectic, debris-strewn sidewalks of Manhattan for a chiller, more peaceful existence. They have shorter buildings and lots of trees in Brooklyn, and a really big park. They also have a plethora of coffee shops, pretentious-less boutiques, and a public library that I think I might actually use to check out new reading material. My fiance and I have committed to “living down” which to me means appreciating the important things in life, the small things which are actually the big things, becoming less materialistic, wasting less money, using it wisely, and focusing on the now. Just being. Since we got back together, my cab usage alone has plummeted to almost nothing. I’m now a card carrying and utilizing subway rider, and I even like it! I play solitaire on my iPhone, listen to music, and read chapters in my book as I tool around on public transportation, patting myself on the back that I’m not only saving us money, but benefiting the environment as well. It’s a small thing, but it comes with a lot of satisfaction.

The third big change coming up, I can’t share here just yet. It involves doing something I’ve wanted to do for about 5 years, so that is certainly exciting!!

This blog reflects my past, but I wanted to post here to say hi to those who have missed me (thanks!). I’ve been feeling the urge to write lately, although I’m not sure if that’s going to happen here, a new (perhaps Brooklyn oriented) blog, or other things.

I’m trying to figure out what to do with my life. One thing I know is that I enjoy writing. I’ve also recently discovered that I have rather amazing panning abilities. Who knew? I think a meyers-brigg test is in order.

Miss you all and appreciate the checking in. xo Buttercup

True Blood

I’m obsessed.

So obsessed that after a 6-month plus absence from the blogsphere, I’m moved to write after just watching the third to last episode of “True Blood,”  Episode 10.

It was sick.  Delightful.  Spectacular.

So many good things.  One of the best parts was Jason Stackhouse standing up on the truck proclaiming he was the God who has come (the devil?), “smiting” Sam at Sam’s direction, and then walking around the parking lot staring at the ground where Sam had been but a moment ago, rubbing his head in the way he does when he’s trying to think.  I actually half leaped off the couch in a cheer.  It was so good.

And, what of Sookie’s new magical power?  I want to know what she is too.  She can read human minds but not vampires, the vampires think she’s not human, she has a human brother (maybe Jason will develop powers), and tonight she zapped Maryanne with light energy out of the palm of her hand.  So cool.  I want to zap people with light energy.   It’s not clear whether Maryanne backed off because she had to or because she was simply so fascinated by Sookie.

Speaking of fascination, could they have picked a better actor to play a Swedish-viking turned Vampire?  I think not.  By the way, did everyone catch that Eric speaks Swedish?  So cool.  I love that things are getting steamy between Sookie and Eric.

I’m definitely a fan of Bill, but he has to get better hair.  It’s ridiculous.  He looks like he just crawled out of a grave every time we see him.  Deep condition.  Blow dry.  Eric does it, so can you.  Plus, Bill is pasty. His skin has a grayish pallor to it that is not attractive, even for a vampire. Eric on the other hand, has a little bit of warmth to him. A little bit of heat.

The character I like best might just be Lafayette.  He is so funny, and the themes that he and Tara play with in their conversation are fantastic.  Tara’s whole thing about how sick it was that she was named after a white plantation that owned slaves was, and her indignant frustration over it, was hilarious.  And, today, while they were all rooting for Bill to glamour Tara, Lafayette says something to the effect of, “If there was one time to listen to a white man, this is the time.”  I love how they play with gender, race, and even sexuality.

It is such a smart, funny, intense show.  On top of that, it’s a sci-fi fan’s dream come true.  Watching it today, I had this surreal feeling like I was suddenly seeing in “true life” what before I had only seen in my books.  I’m not sure why I had this feeling because there certainly many, many science fiction and fantasy movies and TV shoes out there, including of course “Twilight” (B- Movie).

True Blood is not the first, nor will it be the last depiction of a paranormal world, but the way it’s carrying off vampires, shape-shifters, possession and evil spirits, not to mention love, sex, and family dynamics, is one of the best I’ve ever seen.

As you can see, I feel so strongly about it that I was moved to write after a 7 + month hiatus.  If next week’s episode is as good as this week’s, watch out Blogsphere, I just might come back!

Semi-Colon

I’m realizing how important and potentially useful it can be to know your family’s health history.  Once I started asking questions, I found a number of things that surprised me.  I guess when something bad or difficult happens, people deal with it and then, assuming they survive and their is a happy ending, they move on and put that scary episode out of their minds.  It makes sense.

For me, it’s relevant not only whether someone in my extended family has had cancer, but also whether people have had colonoscopies and been found free of polyps.  The flip of cancer – no cancer – is just as useful, at least at this stage when I’m trying to think of potential risks and my doctors are asking me all these questions.  If a family member has had a colonoscopy and they’re fine, that’s a plus in my category of (less risk).   It doesn’t work out exactly like that. There’s no mathematical formula of which I’m aware, but any information adds to the general picture of your family history, and that can be helpful.

I think the main reason people don’t want to get colonoscopies is because our butts are still so taboo.  It’s true, they are.  I felt the same way.  I don’t know what weirded me out more before I had my colonoscopy, envisioning my doctor looking at my butt, or having a tube inserted into me.  The whole thing gave me an uncomfortable feeling.  That combined with the prep you have to do in which you have to not eat for a day before and drink some nasty swill to clean out your bowels made me almost bail on the procedure.  It seemed like such a hassle.

You know what would have been a bigger hassle?  Getting cancer.  

Cancer is scary.  I’ve been trying not to think to much about that.  Every time I have a scary thought I try to counter it with three repeats of “I’m healthy, I’m healthy, I’m healthy.”  But, it’s hard to shake fears about some globular darkness creeping into your organs; some amorphous scary force that you can’t control or defend against.  That’s what I envision.  And, then quickly try to mentally squash by picturing warm yellow light or purple light blasting away the darkness.  I’ll know after I have some more tests if I have to worry about that.  

I think I’ve felt myself up 20 times since Monday feeling my boobs, the weird little mushy, gelatinous bits, the ribs I can feel through them, the odd pieces of tissue that seem to float around under my skin.  Breast self exams are weird because boobs, when you really feel them, are weird.  They are sacs of skin filled with glands and tissue.  Unless you have a fist-full and you’re squeezing or caressing them in the heat of passion, any slower, more deliberate examination is going to reveal just how weird boobs are.  Anyway, I love mine, and they feel the same as they always have, so that’s positive.

The rest of me also feels quite healthy and strong, mainly because I just joined a new gym (Equinox) that I absolutely love.  They have kick ass classes that kick your ass.  Perfection.

Gyms and colonoscopies are good things, boobs feel weird, and knowing your family’s medical history is helpful.  That’s the bottom line of today’s post.

Unexpected

A couple of months ago, I wrote about a colonoscopy I had and the disturbing discovery that I had some polyps that had to be removed during that procedure.  The doctor removed the polyps while I was pleasantly sedated and then told me, as I was groggily waking up, that he would be performing a biopsy on the polyps to determine if there was anything to worry about.

“Anything to worry about” in this context means the dreaded c-word.  He assured me once again, as he had before I had the colonoscopy that he was sure I had nothing to worry about.  I was young, I was healthy (as far as I knew), and they were probably benign.

Wrong.

It turns out that going to get a colonoscopy definitely saved me from developing cancer (at least with these polyps), and quite probably saved my life.  (Although this experience has got me thinking about the phrase “saved my life.”  I saved my life by preventing myself from dying of colon cancer right now, but what does it mean truly to save one’s life.  In other words, what am I saving it for.  It’s like saving money; you can’t use it when you’re gone.  Do you save your life by preventing yourself from dying or does that just prolong life.  Wouldn’t saving your life mean something more than prolonging it, something more akin to tapping into the purpose of life, the passion in life?).

But, I digress.  On to the results.  I had three polyps, one was benign, and the other two were pre-cancerous.  The doctor told me that if I had not had them removed, they would have developed into cancer within 6 months.  That would have meant abdominal surgery, removal of a foot of my colon, and if it had reached to stage II, possibly additional treatment.  He also told me a bunch of other scary things, but I’m in the process of getting second opinions on all of this before I needlessly freak myself or my family out.

The point my dear friends, is that this whole bit about how everyone should stay on top of their digestive health and get regular colonoscopies actually turns out to be true.  It also turns out that waiting too long, being too distracted to take care of it right way, pushing it off for “later,” might make a difference.  If I had waited six months, according to this doctor, I would have had cancer.

I really do not want to get cancer.  I want to be healthy and live a long, happy, healthy life full of love.  I also want the same for my family and friends.  

If there’s a test you’ve been thinking about getting, that you know you should probably get, but have been putting off because you’re busy, or it’s too expensive, or maybe you’re nervous about the possible results, why not just do it?  

It could make a difference.

An Operatic New Year’s Eve

I’m still recovering from New Year’s Eve and the day after, both of which included a lot of fun but very little sleep. Thankfully, work was dead today so after checking my email and taking care of a few things, I had lunch with my co-workers and then hopped a cab back to my place where I promptly crawled into bed and curled up under the covers.  What a decadent Friday.

My contentment at being in bed lasted for approximately 2 minutes.  I’m just not a lie in bed, take a nap in the middle of the day kind of girl (except if there’s a delicious male involved – I’ll make exceptions for certain situations).  I start thinking about everything I could be doing to take advantage of my free time and I get restless.  Luckily, my Mac was nearby, and voila, here we are.

So, New Year’s Eve was unexpectedly terrific.  I had dinner with a group of people which included my date’s good friend, an internationally renowned opera star, and his date, also an opera singer.  The opera star was a terrific guy, and if it hadn’t been for my date conspiratorially whispering “He’s really famous” after I remarked what a fabulous voice he had, I never would have known.  Dinner was in a little studio apartment on the UWS and after dinner I came out of the restroom to find my date playing the piano while the opera star sang an absolutely beautiful song.  I didn’t even know the words but was emotionally moved by the beauty of his voice.  It was truly stunning.  The song, by the way, was  “Una Furtiva Lagrima,” from the opera L’elisir d’Amora (The Elixir of Love).  Can you imagine walking out into a little studio apartment to an impromptu opera performance right in front of you?

After dinner, we went to a penthouse party which involved lots and lots of champagne and many girls milling about in the uniform of the evening, a little black dress (including me).  The crowd there, keeping with the theme of the evening, was also artsy, so the uniformity of the little black dresses was broken up by some spectacular tattoos.  It made me long for a huge dragon on my shoulder, but alas, all I had to offer was some lightly freckled skin and some killer earrings from Tiffany’s.  

From the penthouse party, we went to a society party filled with opera lovers who exploded with adoration when we arrived with the opera star.  He is apparently much loved in the opera world, and after hearing him sing I can understand why.  That party was also fantastic because, after repeated requests by his assembled fans, all of whom were crowded into the living room eating Christmas cookies and talking opera, he delighted us all by singing a number of songs.  In between there were amateur theatre performances and lots of entertaining carrying on.  When we left at 4:30 am, the party was still in full swing.  

I don’t know if it was the beauty of his voice, being able to hear it in such close quarters, or the enthusiasm of those around me, but I think I may have fallen in love with the opera on New Year’s Eve.  It’s like I glimpsed a world I didn’t even know existed, and now that I’m glimpsed it I can’t believe my life has been missing such beauty until now.

All in all, the evening was totally unexpected and different than anything I had ever experienced.  What a terrific way to close one year and began another, appreciating the beauty that we humans are capable of creating.

You Won’t Feel A Thing

I had a draft all set to go of a flippant post about how hot Edward the vampire from Twilight is, and how after seeing the Harry Potter movie with Cedric Diggory in it again yesterday, my assessment of Robert Pattinson’s acting abilities increased dramatically.  I mean, to go from a totally un-hot goody-two shoes with a dorky haircut to Edward Cullen, perfect male specimen extraordinaire, and hot vampire of the bed-head hair fame, is pretty impressive.  Apparently all that semi-awkward cringing and lip curling and melodramatic darkness was actually the product of good acting.  Brilliant!

Well, that was supposed to be the post, but then something a tad more serious happened, and I’ve decided to share.  Be forewarned, it’s semi-gross but not really.  Only gross in the way that cooties were in fifth grade, but man it’s hard to break those habits sometimes.  So, the focus of this post is on the, ahem, colon, and specifically, regarding a colonoscopy that I just had today. 

First, a little background is in order.  Most people my age (33) don’t have colonoscopies.  In fact, if you do a little research on the subject you will see that generally people don’t have colonoscopies until they are in their 40s, and colon cancer – the thing everyone’s trying to avoid by having colonoscopies – is most common in people 50 years old or more.  I’m sure you’ve heard frequently that colon cancer is one of the most preventable, if not the most preventable, form of cancer.  That’s apparently because it takes colon cancer approximately 5 years to develop.  Your intestinal wall, which is supposed to be smooth, can develop “polyps,” small growths of tissue that stick out into your intestinal cavity, and those polyps, if left unchecked, can later become cancerous.  However, regular screening of the colon, such as a colonoscopy, can detect polyps, and the doctor, upon finding a polyp, can snip it away before it has a chance to grow cancerous.  And, just like that, cancer is prevented.  Easy, right?

Polyps generally don’t grow in people until they’re in their 50s.  It’s unusual to find them in people younger than that, which is why doctors don’t start recommending colonoscopies, in general, until people reach their 40s or 50s, or earlier if they have certain risk factors such as:  (1) Being overweight; (2) eating a high fat diet; (3) not exercising; (4) smoking; or (5) having a relative that has had polyps or had colon cancer.  If any of those risk factors are present, the doctors might recommend a colonoscopy earlier to check out your intestine.  Oh, and also if you have symptoms.  Symptoms that something is not quite right in there include, but are not limited to, rectal bleeding and blood in the stool.  I told you this post would be a little gross.  Blood in the stool, for all you still reading this can appear as black coloring of the stool or as red streaks on the stool.  Yet another reason why it’s very important to take a quick glance at your stool just before you flush.  How else are you going to know what’s going on down there?

Well, as you can imagine, I looked, and I saw something that seemed a little funky.  I was told that it was probably nothing, but I was a little nervous because I happen to have a relative who had colon cancer at a very young age.   My dad and mom, neither of whom are squeamish about these kinds of things, told me to not mess around and go in and get it checked out.  My dad said it twice for good measure – he knows how I tend to procrastinate.  I dutifully made the appointment, and was told by the doctor that it was good I had decided to have a check up, given my family history, but not to worry because he was sure it was nothing.  Apparently all kinds of crazy non-dangerous things can happen in ones colon – things I do not want to know about – like internal hemorrhoids that go away with hot water baths.  Who knew?  I mean, I guess innies are better than outies as far as hemorrhoids go, but really, I would prefer neither.  

I told my brother Bacchus I was having a colonoscopy and he regaled me with stories of fire houses going into really small orifices, but then relented and swore the camera-thingie was super tiny.  Pleasant.  He asked me if I was getting knocked out and I realized in horror that I didn’t know.  I  hadn’t realized there were different ways of doing colonoscopies (apparently you can get anesthesia or get a Valium IV).  

Last night, after eating nothing all day, I started the “medicine” (i.e. heinously disgusting laxative drink regiment).  I had to drink 2 liters of salty lemonade – trust me, it’s far more disgusting than it sounds – and then be on toilet alert as the repulsive liquid made its way through my system.  It was somewhere in the middle of that terribly un-fun process that I started wondering why in the heck I was even subjecting myself to this ordeal.  I don’t smoke, I’m not a big drinker, I’m a vegetarian and my diet is not high in fat (albeit high in sugar at times), and I exercise – not as much as I could or should – but pretty frequently.  I run, I do yoga, I eat nuts, whole grains, I get 8 hours of sleep as often as I can.  I even meditate on occasion and work on letting go of toxic mental and emotional energy.   In short, I’m pretty damn healthy.  The chances of moi having polyps, much less colon cancer, (even with my family history) I imagined were basically slim to none.  

I woke up this morning not sure if I was going to go through with it but trucked my butt through the freezing cold across town to the doctor’s office anyway.  Once I arrived, he was friendly and reassuring and promised that the Valium IV would be a breeze.  I was there, it was cold outside, and it’s better to be safe than sorry, so I decided to stay.  The Valium went in, and voila the next thing I remember, I was waking up, and the nurse was telling me I did great.  Bravo!  Apparently, I’m excellent when passed out half naked.

The Doctor came in shortly thereafter, as I was still struggling with the lingering effects of the Valium, trying not to fall over as I stubbornly pulled on my clothes.  I asked him if everything was OK, and he said yes, but he wanted to talk to me after the effects of the drugs had worn off.  I said I was fine and asked again if everything was OK.  He said yes, but guess what?  He found and removed some polyps. [Cue the dramatic music].  At my request, he showed them to me.  Two bright red balls the size of pencil erasers and a third smaller one floating in a tiny vial of clear liquid.  Ewh.  He said “everything is OK now,” but I paid attention to the “now” part, because qualifying the “everything is OK” with “now” meant that everything had not been OK before.  When I told my Dad they found polyps, he said the same thing – it’s good they got them out, you’re OK now.

I guess they’re right.  I am in fact OK.  I might as well just start dancing around Julie Andrews style.  I’m clear of polyps!  Woo-hee.  But, the experience has made me feel a little wobbly.  I just don’t get it.  I am healthy (for the most part), and I’m (relatively) young.  Why in the heck did those polyps decide to grow in me?  Maybe the answer is not complicated.  Maybe it’s simply that this kind of gene runs in my family and I had a certain percentage chance of having polyps grow, and then grew.  But, I don’t believe things are that simple.  I believe in things like karma and fate and getting back from the universe what you put out into it.  I find myself wondering, Have I been putting polyps into the Universe?  Goodness, I hope not.

I’ll have to figure that one out on my own, but to you, my dear friends in the blogsphere, please take a second and think about the symptoms and risk factors associated with colon cancer.  Yes, polyps and colon cancer are rare in young people, but, as that little vial of red balls made clear to me, it happens in young people too.  If you have any reason to think you might be at risk, or feel like something is a bit strange, go check it out. Get a colonoscopy.  They use good drugs, they’re covered by insurance, and you don’t feel a thing.  It’s just your life.