Friday, June 24, 2022

Mammo-Mia! I Got My First Mammogram!

NOTE: There be bewbs ahead! Maybe save this one for after work.


I don't know about you, fellow anxiety warriors, but for me any new body pain sends my brain sprinting towards Worse Case Scenario Valley. So of course when my left armpit and arm gave the slightest of aches the other week, it was RED ALERT ALL HANDS ON PANIC.

You might recall I have Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: a pinched nerve in the clavicle area that causes arm and hand numbness and pain. You might also remember my left arm is worse than my right. After months of treatment the numbness is mostly gone, but I still get occasional aches. So, logically, that is the likely culprit.

Does my panicky lizard brain appreciate logic, though?

Ooooof course not.

Adding to the freshly whipped panic smoothie was that we recently adjusted some of my hormone meds, so for the first time in ages, my tracts of land kinda hurt. I am not used to this. I do not like it.

I'd had a breast ultrasound last year, but never an actual mammogram. Like a lot of you with upper acreage, the idea of a mammogram scared the crap out of me. I'd heard the horror stories, and even watched my mom get the squeeze when I was a teenager. Mom has an insanely high pain tolerance, so she barely flinched, but seeing her boobs smashed that flat was traumatizing, ok?

Noooo, second-hand flashbacks...

That said, pain and panic are powerful motivators, and lucky for me a routine mammogram is one of the few medical things here in Orlando that doesn't have a months-long wait. Our imaging clinic had a spot for me in two days, and not only that, they had me in, scanned, and out in under 20 minutes.

Better still, I am relieved and delighted to report IT DIDN'T HURT, y'all. It really didn't! I was still waiting for the "real" pressure to start when the tech said we were done with the first scan. We did three compressions on each side (I assume because it was my first mammo) and each felt like a firm hug between plastic plates, no more, even on my already-tender poofs. I have a low pain tolerance, but I only felt a single uncomfortable pinch during one pass, which I think was more the top plate snagging too much chest skin than the actual squeeze.

Since then I've discovered the reason for my less painful experience may have been the machine. My clinic uses a 3D mammography machine, something not every lab has yet. Our moms had the older 2D machines, and if you remember a super smashy mammogram, it's possible that's what you had, too.

Both 2D and 3D machines look similar, but the 3D ones move in a half circle over you during the scan:

According to everything I'm seeing online these are superior to the 2D scans, with more angles and better imaging, less compressions, and fewer false-positives. They're also better for dense tissue, a plus since that runs in my family.

The older 2D machines are static, and do NOT move during the scan. So if you don't remember the machine moving on its own, then you had a 2D mammogram.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Why Disney's "The Owl House" Is A Hoot, And You Should Totally Watch It

Sure we have new seasons of Stranger Things and Obi-Wan to watch, but what if you're not in the mood for bone-crunching or a gritty Space Western?

That's been my dilemma; lately I've been craving something light and fluffy. I like to laugh, and John and I already binged the latest season of The Floor is Lava - which I HIGHLY recommend - during our lunch hour. (It's a hilarious game show, you can see my season one review here.)

We just started Ms. Marvel, which I'm really enjoying, but even that I want to space out with something lighter. Something easy to watch when my brain is fried and my heart is heavy.

Then I remembered this amazing cosplayer from last HolMat:

She told me she was Edalyn from the series "Owl House," and IMO any show with a staff that gorgeous deserves a watch. So this past month I finally started the series on Disney Plus, and ahhhh. This is what I've been looking for!

The premise may sound a little generic: a human stumbles into a magical world, makes friends, discovers her own magic, defeats monsters, etc. BUT. Give it three episodes, and I think you'll fall in love like I did.

Still not convinced? Would a Top Ten list help? Because I happen to have one RIGHT HERE.


My Top Ten Reasons You Should Watch The Owl House:

1) It's funny, and has a huge heart

Again, give it a few episodes, because this wacky cast of characters will quickly fly, crawl, and bird-worm their ways into your heart.

2) It's not TOO cutesy

There's a bizarreness to the animation style and monsters, some gross moments, and plenty of raw chaotic energy that keep Owl House from being all sweetness and fluff like, say, Hilda. (Which I adore, so zero shade there.) 

The school bell gives a full-throated scream instead of ringing, and it makes me laugh every. dang. time.

3) Luz is the hero we all want to be

Luz is spunky, kind, and brave - almost to a fault. This may be my own anxiety talking, but I love her self-confidence, how she runs toward every dangerous challenge. In this show she does all the rescuing, and that fills me up in a way I can't quite explain. Just... happy. 

4) Eda the Owl Lady

Voiced by the incredible Wendie Malick, Eda is the eccentric rebel granny we all wish we had. She doesn't give a hoot what anyone thinks, and despite being the most powerful witch of the Boiling Isles, she digs through trash for a living, and loves it.

Also Eda's back story is SO GOOD, y'all. Gah. Completely sucked me in. I like how the mystery builds, weaves in more characters, and raises the stakes through season one.