Thursday, October 30, 2014
My OBGYN recently gave me an authorization slip for my annual mammogram. I told her that this year I was thinking about skipping it. I've been having one, almost without fail, for over 20 years. I've had false positives, been sent to the surgeon for evaluation ("You're going to stick a needle where? No, think not..."), been called back for re-checks ("Come back in six months and we'll look again."), I've been told I had dense breasts. I've been told that they're not dense. I've been told that the type of breast cancer my mother had was not a genetic disease. I've been told the radiologist had to keep an eye on some calcifications. I've been told that calcifications are normal unless they're looking like they're getting organized. So far, they're not. My OBGYN felt no lumps and neither have I. I hardly take a Tylenol without being concerned about side-effects. What must 20 plus years of radiation aimed directly at the girls be doing to me? Do I seem confused? Not a decision to take lightly. My OBGYN told me that some of her other patients my age (over 60) are re-thinking the annual trip to the radiologist for the "squeeze". She didn't think it was unreasonable and didn't seem especially troubled if I chose to skip a year. Now, I wouldn't want anyone to take this as medical advice. We should all consult our own physicians on a regular basis and make these decisions with professional advice. I've been on a reduced carbohydrate food program (of my own design) since May and I've lost ten pounds and dropped my triglycerides by 40 points. October is a great time to be reminded that we need to be aware of our health and take good care of ourselves. Now for some pink...
Saturday, October 4, 2014
The Nathaniel Ropes mansion on Essex Street in Salem, Massachusetts was built around 1720 and purchased by Judge Ropes in 1748. Judge Ropes (a British sympathizer) was dying from smallpox when the home was stormed by locals who were infuriated by the Tea Tax - although some accounts of history indicated that it was the fact that the judge had been inoculated with smallpox in an effort to be vaccinated against it. There is some indication that there was anger toward the judge by people both not able to afford the procedure and those who believed that he brought smallpox to their village. Either way, the judge died very soon after the attack. Some believe that his daughter Abigail's spirit still inhabits the house because of the awful way she perished...burned to death after her night dress caught fire. In spite of its sad history, this beautiful home is now owned by the Peabody Essex museum. Our trolley driver pointed the house out to my husband and me and told us about the lovely garden that lay behind a large wisteria covered gate. It's one of the hidden jewels of Salem and not to be missed.