monanotlisa: (spock profile - st:tos)
1. Every day, there is sunshine. (Okay, 256 days out of 365, but still. Come at me, sis.)

2. When I open the front garden blinds, there's hummingbirds fluttering away. HUMMINGBIRDS! They're the fairies of the bird world. Magical.

2. When I walk outside in my -- low-key wealthy -- neighborhood in what is esseeeeeentially pajamas, no one comments, or even spares me a second glance. This is brought to you by the girl who for the one short outside stint planned did not bother putting anything on beyond house-pants and a Nevertheless She Persisted shirt.

4. When I walk outside in the City on a workday, however, people throw me appreciative glances. European-style attire isn't common on the West Coast, and even if people wouldn't wear it they seem to agree it's interesting, or maybe even daring ("How is she going to explain that to her startup CEO in his ratty, IRONIC Status Quo band t-shirt?")

5. People are nice. I do mean that in an occasional nice-guy kind of way, but for 99% of interactions that suits me perfectly well. Germans are forthright, and you will know where you stand with them. Just, in 75% of interactions, you won't LIKE knowing where you stand with them.

Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain Awkward,

It’s been two years since my diagnosis with a very aggressive form of breast cancer, and eighteen months since my double mastectomy. The type of cancer (IBC) ruled out immediate reconstruction with implants (which I would have declined anyway, because not for me).

It used to be that women with IBC didn’t get reconstruction, because TBH we usually didn’t live all that long. Nowadays after a waiting period of two years or so one can have a DIEP flap where skin, fat and blood vessels are taken from the stomach and grafted onto one’s chest.

I’ve completed treatment, there’s currently no sign of cancer, and I’m doing well. I’m trying to move forward and get on with my life as much as possible.

But here’s my problem: medical folk keep pestering me to get reconstruction and don’t seem to understand that I DON’T WANT IT.

I’ve made a list of the pros and cons and–while it’s fine for others, it’s not fine for me, right now, under these particular circumstances.
I’m a smart person with a supportive partner, friends and family. Yes, the things surgeons can do are amazing. I know all about my options. If I want more information I know how to get it.

But..the continual unasked-for conversations from presumedly well-meaning medical providers are irritating at best and at worst can send me into a days-long depressive spiral.

Because I was trained to be a people-pleaser and discount my own ideas and opinions, and when I hear, “Have you considered reconstruction? We can do amazing things and by the way, you basically get a free tummy tuck..”

..my brain translates it into, “You are not okay the way you are, and your choice is not a valid one and your appearance is not acceptable. You are BROKEN. Let us fix you.”

What none of my medical providers seem to understand is that I want to maximize my physical activities and minimize my time spent in hospitals to the greatest extent possible, and for the most part I don’t give a rat’s behind whether I meet society’s expectations of how a female should look.

I’ve always been large-breasted and very self-conscious about it, and at the same time considered myself a bit of a “tomboy”.

It turns out I’m more at home in my body without breasts, have less back and neck pain, don’t miss bras or boob sweat, and enjoy wearing button-down shirts I buy from the men’s department.

My sex life is just fine.

I identify with others in the “flattie” community far more than anyone else in Breast Cancer Land.

But when doctors start pushing reconstruction, I feel as if my choice to remain flat is being questioned, and it affects my mental health when my efforts to explain and/or justify my choice seemingly fall on deaf ears.

Is there a script to politely shut this down? I’d be grateful for any suggestions.

Her/She pronouns, and just sign me “Flat and (Mostly) Happy”

Dear Flat and Mostly Happy,

I think your medical providers need a letter (email, fax, whatever works) spelling out what you told me. Something like:

“Dear Doctor,

Thank you for your excellent care so far.

There is some information I would like you to put in my chart & medical records in a way that it is clear to all the providers & staff I work with at your practice: I am not interested in discussing breast reconstructive surgery at this time. If that ever changes, I will bring it up. 

I know you and your staff are just trying to make sure I know my options. I’m very happy to be cancer-free, I’m happily adjusting to my new body, but I’m feeling pressured and distressed by these discussions and the prospect of more surgery in a way I’m sure you don’t intend. I’d appreciate it it can just become a non-issue during our visits, and if that changes, I will be sure to let you know.

Thanks for all you do.”

If you know of articles that might explain this well and help the doctor or clinical staff do better with other patients, include links or mentions of those resources. Then send it to every one of your current providers where this has been a problem before your next visit.

It’s not a 100% foolproof solution, but it will make you feel like you are more in control and you can remind yourself that hey, you told them how to take care of you as clearly and politely as you could. If someone brings it up (maybe they haven’t seen it, maybe they forgot), here are some scripts:

  • I’ve said many times that I’m not interested. Can I ask why you are trying so hard to sell me on this when you know that I don’t want it?

I suspect (but do not know for sure) that the answer has to do with insurance & money, like, there is a limited window where insurance will pay for reconstruction so they are trying to make sure that you get in inside the window and worried that you’ll regret it later. People had to fight hard to get insurance companies to pay for any reconstruction and the benefit is probably a “use it or lose it” deal.

That’s an understandable reason, if that is the reason, so, make them spell it out for you, and then give your informed consent to skip that part, like, “Okay, I appreciate it – I know you are trying to make sure I am financially taken care of as well as medically, thanks for helping me make an informed choice. I choose to opt out of reconstructive surgery at this time. If I change my mind down the road and it becomes an insurance or financial issue, I’ll cross that bridge then. In the meantime, can we agree to put this to bed? It really stresses me out to talk about it in a way I’m sure you don’t intend. Thank you.

See also:

  • I’m not interested in talking about reconstructive surgery. I’ll let you know if that changes.
  • I put something in writing about this – did it not make it into my chart?” Ask the person the best way to make sure that this information is visible to anyone who treats you.

Repeat this stuff like a broken record. If the person won’t stop, you have permission to stop being polite. You probably won’t stop being polite because you are a polite person but knowing that you’ve communicated your needs very directly and clearly can sometimes be helpful, like, “I’m 100% sure I’m not the one making this weird right now.

I hope this gets easier for you, Letter Writer. Readers, do you have any tactics that have worked to set boundaries with medical professionals?


It is now time for the summer Captain Awkward Dot Com pledge drive, where I shake the tip jar in the general direction of all of you kind readers. If you like what I do here and are able to support the work, please visit my Patreon page or make a donation via PayPal or Cash.me. Thanks to your support, we’ve made the blog ad-free. My next goal is to take a sabbatical from teaching in 2018 and work on a CaptainAwkward book and other writing projects. Every little bit counts, and I’m grateful for it.

 

 

 

 


(no subject)

21 Aug 2017 08:17 am[personal profile] sheafrotherdon
sheafrotherdon: (Default)
I watched an episode of Hawaii Five-0 on Friday evening for want of anything else to do. I haven't watched the show in a couple of years because its traffic in stereotypes and jingoism just made it too hard to watch, but Friday I figured I'd give it a go.

Holy moley, it's still the gayest show on TV that thinks it's not gay at all.

Steve and Danny's storyline was the B-plot (or was the case the B-plot? Hard to say). It was Valetine's Day weekend, and Steve and his girlfriend were headed to a hotel to spend a romantic weekend together. Steve cracks open a beer and wanders onto the hotel balcony . . . and discovers Danny already drinking a beer on the next balcony over.

Danny stares at him for a long time and says, "Why?"

INDEED, DANNY. INDEED.

Ends up Danny and Steve's gfs have decided they all need to hang out together, so they got adjoining rooms at the hotel. Danny is particularly perturbed by this as he doesn't think his romantic game is strong and it'll be particularly hard with Steve there with his "judgey" face. So they bicker and then have a conversation about . . . safe words. I kid you not.

*hands*

The rest of the S/D storyline includes:

* Everyone playing volleyball (not gay, right? Their gfs are there!) . . . to the Kenny Loggins song that played during the volleyball scene in Top Gun (aka THE GAYEST)

* Steve and Danny going out for a swim together and wading back from the water together

* Steve and Danny breaking and entering into someone's hotel room in search of Danny's sunglasses

* Steve and Danny having facials in the spa. The camera eventually widens to show the gfs are there, but then Danny decides he can't stand spa-ing a moment longer and leaves, and Steve goes after him to check he's okay.

* A romantic dinner on the beach for the four of them, but Steve and Danny sit beside each other, and Steve throws his arm around Danny and caresses his ear.

I just . . . are the writers trying to send a message? Do they all have secret RL crushes on their friends? Who puts the volleyball music from Top Gun to a scene where Steve and Danny (or for that matter their gfs) are playing a game and thinks "that will read straight"?

I am so looking into the camera like Ben Wyatt right now.

My day has gone a bit cockammie. I was supposed to see my psychiatrist at 9.20 but there are storms the whole way between there and here (an hours drive) and I just cannot. So now I have to squeeze it in next week between various work things. Fun! It frees up some time for me to do other things, but I'm so flummoxed by the order of my day being thrown out of whack that I don't exactly know what other things I want to do. Brains.

A program I've been working on all summer starts up this Wednesday with training days for everyone involved, and then our participants arrive on Saturday. I usually look forward to the participants arriving, but I am so utterly over this program after working on it the past three months that I feel no anticipation. It was supposed to be a program run by me and one of my bosses, but then she left, and everyone assumed I would just pick up the slack. But it is a two-person job, and there is only one of me, so I am left very tired, frustrated, and out of fucks for the whole thing. It'll get done, but oy. I have an email in to my other boss about extra compensation for all my work, so I hope they come through on that.

I guess I'm feeling frustrated overall that I never got a chance to have a summer. I did some very cool things - I loved getting a glimpse of Boston; my conference in Virginia last week was amazing - but save for four hours on a Michigan beach, I've had no real time off, and no time to take time off at that. So today I'm feeling very grumpy.

Boo on that. Perhaps I should bribe myself to do work and go to the coffeeshop? That would be a fun place to be even if the work I'm doing is not fun itself. Sounds like a plan.
Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
www.phdcomics.com
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "Eclipse" - originally published 8/21/2017

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!

Music meme: day 21 of 30

21 Aug 2017 12:50 pm[personal profile] liv
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
A favourite song with a person's name in the title: Several options for this one, but I'm going with Hey there Delilah by Plain White T's. I generally really like songs that tell a bit of a story, and I can imagine the characters in this one so vividly. I like the balance of emotions; it's a sad song about missing a lover, but it's also optimistic and the music is at least somewhat catchy. And I like that they're apart because they're both pursuing their careers, it's not some passive muse waiting for her artist boyfriend to come home. It's not my usual musical style; indeed I discovered it simply by listening to chart radio like some young person who's in touch with the recent music scene.

Besides, I've been in long-distance relationships pretty much my entire adult life, so I can really relate. But no longer; I haven't posted about this in public yet, but in a couple of weeks I'm properly moving to Cambridge. So I'll be living full time in the same house as my husband and the same town as my Other Significant Others. And I won't be spending every Friday and Sunday evening commuting. I'm really really looking forward to this next phase in my life, but also at the moment up to my ears in arranging the move, and quite emotional about leaving the situation I've been settled in for 8 years.

This weekend I lead my last Shabbat morning service with my lovely community. They are understandably nervous about the future without me, and I will miss them absolutely terribly. I talked a bit about Re'eh, making sure that there's no comparison between Moses saying farewell to the Israelites and me saying farewell now. I discussed keeping sanctity while you're living in an imperfect situation, far away from Jewish centres. What compromises can you make (eating meat without making a Temple sacrifice) and what lines can't be crossed (worshipping in Pagan sites)? Then it will go well for you and your children after you, for all of time, because you will do what is good and right in the eyes of the Eternal your God. And we ate cakes made by my sister and the community gave me some really nice silver Shabbat candlesticks with engraved stands.

[personal profile] jack came up to help me sort the flat out. In lots of ways the decision making is the harder part of packing than the physical labour, so having my husband with me was an amazing help. I am really looking forward to living with him and properly sharing the work of running a household, because we're such a great team. Not just one day in the distant future when our dreams come true, but next month:
We'll have it good
We'll have the life we knew we would
My word is good

video embed )
RelationShipping - an exchange for incest ships - is in need of a pinch-hitter!

The minimum for fic is 500 words; the minimum for art is a work at the 'nice sketch' stage. The deadline is Saturday 2 September at 23:59 UTC.

To claim, please comment to the dreamwidth post with your AO3 username. Comments are screened and you don't need a dreamwidth account.

( Pinch Hit #1: Bates Motel (2013), Bloodline (TV 2015), Better Call Saul (TV) )

(no subject)

21 Aug 2017 09:20 am[personal profile] oursin
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
Happy birthday, [personal profile] kerrypolka!

Daily Happiness

21 Aug 2017 01:17 am[personal profile] torachan
torachan: close-up of a sleepy kitten face (sleepy molly)
1. I already finished most of that paid translation job, so I don't have to worry about spending a lot of my day off on it.

2. Tonight's Rick and Morty was pretty good. I liked the Rick and Jerry plotline a lot. (I love Jerry, so I'm glad that him and Beth being separated hasn't meant he's totally out of the picture.)

3. This Molly!

umadoshi: (tomatoes 02)
--The Sparkler Monthly Year 5 Kickstarter has only 48 hours left to go, and still needs about $5000. They've made a lot of progress over the weekend, and last year was a nail-biter too (and they made it), but ugh, this is stressful. Here's a post at Panel Patter outlining the awesomeness of the company and magazine, if you're on the fence or haven't taken a look but might be interested!

--I didn't make further Defenders progress over the weekend, so I'm still only three episodes in. But I did get StarCraft Remastered up and running!

--The one thing I miss about having a CRT monitor (yes, I hear myself) is my old document holder, which can't be readily used on a flatscreen. I've been poking around online this weekend (Amazon, Staples, Newegg), and there are so few options for holders that actually attach to the monitor and hold the document you're typing at eye level. [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose looked at the first couple of possibilities I found, and one looks like it needs more of a frame around the actual screen than my desktop monitor has, and the other sticks with something he thinks isn't likely to hold well on this monitor. I have great confidence that he can rig something up and make it work, once we go over the possibilities I've found so far, but I'm baffled by how few options there seem to be. (But maybe my dislike of having the document holder down on the desk--too low, and eating up a footprint of space on the desk surface--isn't widely shared.)

(The above means I fell into the rabbit hole of desk organizers etc. on Amazon. O_O I seem to have escaped alive.)

--AFAIK Nova Scotia won't see much sign of the eclipse tomorrow. I hope all of you who're able to see it, and who're excited about it, get a good look!

[dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I are new enough at the whole gardening thing that it didn't occur to either of us to check on the plants after the weather yesterday. Although I suppose a lot of the reason for that is that the weather didn't seem that bad? It was windy and quite rainy, but it didn't seem that windy, and the rain seemed like it'd be good for them. *sighs* But no, a couple of the tomato plants, including the towering Sungold, toppled over. In the Sungold's case, the Smartpot stayed put but the halo and rootball tipped out. o_o

I didn't get a look at it then; [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose went out without me at first when I was still hoping it'd be a case of tipping the plants back upright. I'd just been in the shower, and it was dark, and I knew the mosquitoes--which, as we've established, find me tastier--were out. But [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose didn't come right back in, so I put on a thick hoodie, hood and all, and zipped it up so only my hands and face and the tops of my feet were bare.

Hopefully the plants will be okay, now that they've had more supports added. We'll take another look tomorrow when there's light. But at the very least, I definitely have mosquito bites on the backs of both hands and the tops of both feet. Ugh. Sounds like we may have similar numbers of bites despite [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose having been outside easily twice as long as I was.

(no subject)

20 Aug 2017 07:35 pm[personal profile] resonant
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
The spouse reconnected with his former therapist via Facebook instant messaging this weekend. They got to talking about current events.

"I counseled a member of a neo-Nazi group once," the therapist said.

"Did you learn anything useful about the movement?"

"This particular fellow was a victim of childhood sexual abuse. I think that was the root of his rage," the therapist said.

It makes me wonder how things would be different if American mental health care were in better shape.

Hey-o

20 Aug 2017 07:59 pm[personal profile] next_to_normal
next_to_normal: (Hunger Games)
Been a while. I spent my summer flailing and screaming and anticipating the end of the world, how about you?

My health still sucks, although that's mostly unrelated to our impending doom. Basically, I still have Crohn's, and while surgery alleviated the worst pain, I'm now discovering all sorts of new things that a year and a half on opioids was masking, like constant diarrhea and joint pain. Whee! I can still only manage to eat vegetables about once a week, and I haven't really attempted alcohol in any realistic quantity.

In other news, I am match-dot-comming again. I might even go on an actual date this time. I am still bitter that my previous (hilarious) reaction posts are now basically toast because all my gifs were on photobucket. I may have to describe my experiences using ACTUAL WORDS from now on (the horror!).

Um, I cooked things? Some of these things were a long time ago, like the Sticky Lemon Cake I made for my dad for Father's Day. This cake is SO good, would make again, but it totally does NOT fit in an 8-inch round pan. It did not even fit in the 8x3 loaf pan I used instead, because of the editor's note and all the comments about it. So... use a bigger pan than that. And also cook it for longer than 30 minutes, like closer to 50. Seriously, does no one actually try these recipes before posting them to make sure they work?

Like this Robinson Cove Crab Salad, which is really more of a dip, and that's even before you account for the fact that it was super watery and I had to literally strain it before eating. I don't know why it was so watery, the only liquid in it is lemon juice and it's not that much. It's also pretty bland. We ate it while my parents were here, and my mom was like, "Eh, not bad," and then dumped a bunch of spices in. (She suggested Old Bay, which I didn't have, so I think we ended up just using ginger, paprika, and nutmeg, which were the components of Old Bay I had.) 

One recipe that actually did work was Prosciutto-Stuffed Chicken. Setting aside the fact that the supermarket only had chicken breasts the size of a football and so three of them managed to last me six meals. (I cut the rest of the recipe in half.) But I didn't even mind eating the leftovers for a week. I used asparagus, not broccoli, because it's friendlier to my digestive system, and honestly felt like the ratio of rice to asparagus was a little high, but more green vegetables probably wouldn't have done me any good anyway.

I also made No-Bake S'mores Bars, which were good. Fair warning, though: these fuckers get VERY hard when you refrigerate them, and then when you take 'em out of the fridge, there's, like, a 30-second window between "break your teeth" and "melty chocolate mess" in which you must consume them. 
musesfool: Huntress being awesome (don't think cause i understand i care)
I ended up marathoning all 8 episodes of Defenders last night. I enjoyed it. It doesn't have the same thematic cohesiveness that Jessica Jones does and the fights aren't as good as they were in the first season of Daredevil, but it's a fun ride if you enjoy the characters, and it helps that everyone else finds Danny Rand as annoying as the audience does. *hands*

spoilers )

So it was a good way to spend 7-ish hours, and it didn't leave me in a state of existential dread the way JJ did.

the other day, in anticipation of this show, I was making a list of ladies with robot arms, and I couldn't come up with many - Misty Knight, Nina Sharp, Lirael, Furiosa... who else is there?

***

It was a camel!

20 Aug 2017 01:14 pm[personal profile] rachelmanija
rachelmanija: (It was a monkey!)
This clip from CNN is well worth listening to.

It encapsulates both the jaw-dropping awfulness and bizarreness of the Orange Supremacist era, and the extent to which the mainstream media has gotten so appalled that they're dropping their usual false equivalency. I mean the old "both sides have a point," which works when both sides DO have a point, but does not when you're talking about Nazis vs. anti-Nazis or Cheetolini vs. human beings with empathy. Also, it made me laugh.

Yesterday post-rally [personal profile] hederahelix and I were discussing this.

"It's just so surreal," she said. "Hey... Is that a camel?"

I looked over. The U-haul next to us had a giant camel painted on the side.

Below the camel, as if in explanation of why a U-haul would be decorated with a giant camel, were a few lines of Wikipedia-esque notes on camels, something like "A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as "humps" on its back."

Culinary

20 Aug 2017 08:44 pm[personal profile] oursin
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)

Bread: on Monday, Greenstein's 100% Wholewheat Loaf, made up of ordinary strong wholemeal/wholemeal spelt/einkorn flours. Tasty but a bit crumbly for some reason.

Saturday breakfast rolls: the adaptable soft roll recipe, 4:1 strong white/buckwheat flour, dried blueberries, maple sugar.

Today's lunch: quails, which I cooked yesterday as they were well pushing their use-by date, according to a recipe from Clarissa Dickson Wright. The Game Cookbook, only that used fruit chutney, which I did not have, so used damson jelly instead, roasted in foil at Mark 3 for 30 minutes: not bad. Served with sticky rice in coconut milk with lime leaves, buttered spinach, and asparagus healthy-grilled in olive oil and splashed with aged organic balsamic vinegar.

Have started the overnight rising version of the bread recipe in Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking, which I haven't made for ages.

lannamichaels: "(but I digress)" written in black text on textured background (but i digress)


Just now I picked up for the border of the baby blanket and I can't tell if the pick up is terrible and I have to re-do it because it's all v. v. v. scrunched together because the cable on the circular needle is too short. This is after I connected in another cable before I started picking up because I knew the original cable wasn't long enough.

Okay, so easy solution, connect in a longer cable. But even though I would swear that *I do have longer cables*, I can't find them.

Okay, so slightly harder solution, just connect in the many, many shorter cables that I can find. Except that won't work, since I could only find one cable connector and it's the one I'm already using.

So now I have ordered both additional long cables and cable connectors. And then someday I will be able to see how the pick-up actually looks, which is, honestly, probably terrible; I was having a lot of issues picking up along the cast-on edge.

I barely knit these days. I don't deserve these kinds of problems. (I keep being like "okay, switch to crochet, it seems easier on the hands", and then not doing it.)

daughter of the sea, oregano's first cousin

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