Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington

November 2014

 November 2, 2014

I am learning that sometimes, for me, life events stun me into not being able to produce tears. I have been dry-eyed for around two years, now.
No matter what I did, what I felt, what I went through, how much something hurt, physically or emotionally, I could not cry.
I got to the point where I knew I needed to cry. I needed to release all of that pent up stuff. -To cleanse myself of built-up emotions. Kind of like how I feel when I need, and I mean neeeeed a thunder storm. Thunder and lightning clears the air, and likewise, tears cleanse me.
I couldn't do it! I'd rent a sad movie. Nope! No tears! I'd try to think about Andrew. Nope! No tears! Pheh! Drive me cray-cray!
And it was Andrew's death that put me into this dry eyed phase, in the first place. The death of my son was too much for me to handle, (despite the rumor that God won't give you more than you can handle. Ha!), and I just stoically went about my life. No emotion- no tears. And all this, without medication! Your body will do this all by itself! Believe me!
Well, I think I'm getting "better".
Now days, everything, and I mean everything is making me cry! At the drop of a hat, I cry! It's like the most huge, intense thunderstorm of emotions coursing through my veins!
Andrew? Oh, just the thought, the word, and I cry! I can be driving down the road, and if Andrew comes into my mind, I cry! Pull over, wipe tears, blow nose... Pheh! OK. Drive! And my Mom... and my Dad... and, and... sob, sob.
So, when I canceled this year's Christmas party, what did I do? All together, now!
I cried.
But, you guys... I've been doing this for (Uh oh, here come da tears)... I don't know... Was 2002 the first year? Or, was that the second year? If so, we don't even have a record of it on this BB!
OK. It was 2002, because in 2001, I first wrote about the idea.
Gosh, reading these old posts on ifish, where we were all a neato family makes me cry. LOL. I can laugh through tears, too, you know!
Today, this Sunday of November, I am thanking God for giving me back the ability to cry. It really does feel good, even though it feels bad, sometimes. Thinking of my son being gone really isn't a good thing, but the ability to remember him fondly, instead of simply in shock is a gift to me. I can feel!
Like I said, though, I cancelled the Christmas party, this year. It just isn't in me to beg people to attend, this year. I was having to try harder and harder to get people to come, or maybe not. Maybe I always had to try. Yeah, looking back, I did always have to try. But, I don't have that in me, this year.
There is a thread right now on Life in General called "I am a pansy". It's about being a fair weather fisher person, and thinking twice when going out to fish in the wind and rain. I seriously have trouble admitting that Bill and I are getting to that point. I refuse to readily say it, but I can relate. That's as close as I'm going to come to admitting that. In fact, I doubt if I'd ever start a thread saying so! :) You just don't admit those kinds of things.
Canceling the Christmas parties is one of those things I don't like to admit.
But, I had to publicly state that I'm not doing the Christmas party this year! I had to say that, and I did, on a thread, right here! And every day I have to stare at it, because for some reason, it won't float off the front page of the ifish community! It just stays there, glaring at me! Can't we get that offa there? Please? Do it, or I'll cry!
I'm not proud of it. I wish I was doing it. But, darnit anyhow, I want someone else to want to organize it!
I'd go! I'd love to attend! I just don't want to be the person who has to beg people to come, this year. Because of all the emotions flooding me, lately, I just can't be everyone's cheer leader! I need someone to cheer me on! Please! :) Beg me to come, someone! Get down on your knees! I'll give you what you want! I'll attend and help out! I want to count toys! I want to be that volunteer!
I posted the poll about who would come, and it just didn't look great. So, I caved. I gave up. And... I cried. What's new?
Maybe next year.
But, for this year, I fondly remember all of the wonderful times we had. All of the awesome volunteers. All of those beautiful toys, and happy faces. Sally from the hospital, crying about receiving all those toys for the kids. The kids... Don't even talk to me about the kids.... Kleenex, please? The kids will have no toys? Wha?
Tears.
So, this year, I am going to figure out a site we can all go to, to donate money, instead. I have to figure out how the money will go directly to the hospital, and not through my account. My account is a business account, and I will get taxed on that money, unless it goes direct to them. I just want to avoid that accounting hassle. So, today, I'm going to work on figuring that out. We could just send it direct to the hospital, but I really want to keep track of how much, exactly, we send them. I think it will be fun! If we like set a goal, and then tried to meet it? Yeah!
I am not looking forward to my brother's phone call. David, my brother, calls me each year, and if I even hint that I don't want to do the party, he talks me into it. This year, I have made my decision and it's no. Hear me? NO! But... how to tell him?
OK. Off I go. No more tears, right?
Ha! As if! I'm a walking, talking, crying machine!

November 5, 2014

Loving Taylor Swift's new CD, 1989. Oh, my. Can't do anything but listen! Over, and over, and over! You can buy it on Itunes! Do it! :)
Just had to get in a plug for the queen, you know.
I am having problems with a tooth, which, if you have ever had a toothache, you would know how that goes. It affects your everything.
Of course, as normal, I have something really bizarre.
My doctor once said to me, "Jennie, NOTHING about you is normal." Gee. Thanks.
Another surgeon, "Jennie, not only do I not want to do surgery on you. I LOATHE the idea! Your eye fell apart in my hands." Yep. That's marfan connective tissue for you!
By the way, he ended up doing surgery on me, and it was successful. So, ha!
I take not being "normal" as a compliment. So, there.
Don't think I'm normal? Well, watch me be even more -"'not normal!"
So, I was at the dentist getting a routine cleaning. I take very good care of my teeth. I've always thought dentures would be a tough thing to have, with everything else I have. Not that I wanted to be normal, but I did want to keep my teeth in as good condition as I was able. I brush. I floss. I even brush my teeth in the car!
Anyhow... Routine cleaning, until I told her that this tooth hurt, way back there, so to be careful, please.
Well, she took films, (Cha ching!) and the fun started.
"I need to show this to the doctor." Ohhhhhh great.
He thought it was a cavity, so I begged to get it fixed that very day, and he said he could! YAY! (Cha-ching!)
So, he numbed me up and began his work.
Now, that spot on my tooth really hurt, but I was at ease. I was numbed up. Right?
OUCH!
I raised my hand, knowing full well not to move, while he was drilling. I did that once, and the dentist got mad at ME when he drilled down my chin, slicing it open.
I raised my hand rather quickly and made some guttural noise that said "Owie".
He said, "Oh, no. I don't think it's the cavity causing your pain."
Great. "What is it, doc?"
"I think it's your gums, and I think you have nerve damage from resorption.
"Resorption?" Whazzthat?
If you'll look up resorption in the dictionary it generally means "Bad tooth ache".
There is nothing normal about me. Nothing.
My tooth is being attacked, absorbed, eaten- by my own cells!
The only answer is to pull it.
Lucky for me, it's a big molar way back there, but it hurts!!!
And, until November 18th, when he has his next opening, it's going to hurt!
So, boys and girls, today we learned about something new and weird called "internal tooth resorption"!
I love learning, don't you?!
I have this ap from dictionary.com that gives you a word of the day. Today's word was "pusillanimous".
I should create a new ap that gives you 'Jennie's medical malady of the day'. I wonder how much money I could make off of something like that?
By the way, For this column, I offer you a pusillanimous apology.
Can someone please just assure me that when I get back to the coast, the rivers will all be at premium levels and I'll have the time of my life?

November 8, 2014

I'm getting antsy about the Kwikfish contest that ends, soon! Get those Kwikfish ideas on paper and send them in!

November 9, 2014

During my first real 'boyfriend' relationship, someone brought to my attention that one or the other of us might be taking the other for granted. I can't recall which way it was. I guess it was just the concept that was brought to my attention. I hadn't learned about taking things for granted, and I remember trying not to ever take my boyfriend "for granted". It wasn't easy! I mean, he was always there. Always!
Until he wasn't.
That's when you begin to learn not to take things for granted.
I can honestly say that after nine years of marriage, I began to take my husband for granted. Didn't learn much the first time, did I?
But, every time he came home from work, I was out the door to go fishing. Turns out, that doesn't make for a healthy relationship.
I think it's something that is difficult to learn, most times.
I feel like I am a pretty happy person, in general.
Little things make me happiest. Take shoes.
Shoes don't fit me well. Now, I know most women don't take their shoes for granted. Women tend to collect shoes, boots, sandals, oxfords, heels, shoes, shoes like hoarders! Oh, shoes! 'Must have every pair! Having a bad day? Buy shoes! All better!
But, not me! I have these long, skinny, hard-to-fit marfan feet.
When I was in high school, my choice of shoes were only at Nordstrom. Think that's cool? My Mom didn't! I didn't either, because they weren't the cute shoes over in the cute Brass Plum area. Oh, no! They were the ugliest pumps when pumps weren't in style type shoes! Old lady shoes, both my Mom and I called them. And, on top of that, I got only one pair, because they were expensive like mad!
During the following upper teen and young twenties, when you care so much about what people think, I crunched my feet into shoes that didn't fit, just to be "hip". Still, they were long, and I recall loving the bell bottom pant era, because they covered up those long toe-langies! Arachnodactylies footsies! Yuck!
Then, came the problem of boots and waders and boot-foot waders. Oh, man! (Speaking of...) I had to wear mens, and they were long enough, but miles too wide! I had to wear two pair of boot socks (still do) and an Uggs sheepskin liner, in order to wear them without slipping out of them, or twisting my ankle.
I still have that problem and they will never, I guarantee you, make 11 (or 12, now, since my feet have flattened after pregnancy) super slims. That's right. I wear four A.s "AAAA" or in Munroe shoes, "SS".
When I pad the bottom of the shoes, the heel doesn't fit right, either. Wah.
So, when Bill bought me a pair of New Balance hiking boots, I could NOT believe that they fit. Mostly, anyhow. They were narrows, so they were a bit more narrow than normal. I still have to lace them up so they look like bowling shoes, but I'm used to that.
They fit! They fit! And that makes me a happy girl. I'm not kidding. I feel joy when I put those shoes on. Things just don't fit me, very often!
So, right there, I have two happy things. Bill, for buying them for me, (they weren't cheap!) and shoes, that fit me! That feel good when I walk! That makes me happy-happy!
Although I'm certain that going to a shoe sale, or buying lots of fancy shoes make most women pretty happy, at least for a little while, my shoes make me very happy for the life of the shoe! Whoo hooo!
And it's other things that make for a happy girl in me.
My eyesight- I don't take for granted, and every morning that I wake up, I'm thankful that they work. Seeing tons of colors takes my breath away, as does riffles boiling on the river, against the greenest green of trees, above.
Having had a zillion eye surgeries, having woken up and finding that they don't work- all of these things have made me never take my vision for granted. Ever! And that equals HAPPY every day that I can see.
Sweatshirts that have long enough arms. Now, that's a cool thing! Feeling my sleeve length right at my wrist? Wow! That's awesome! Did I tell you the length of my arm spam is longer than my height? That's weird! That, is marfan!
Things that non marfan people don't even think twice about, I do. I'm not sure that is a good thing, but it's all I know, so when something is normal for me, like well fitting shoes and shirts, it shoots me over the moon!
I do have some things that non marfan people (with well fitting shoes) don't have! Like a home on the river! Fishing right out side my back door! Those are "Whoo hooo!" things, no matter who you are!
I digress, but sometimes I do think both Bill and I take living on the river for granted, and we have to work on that. We need to fish more. We need to praise that holy ground. Oh, yes, we do!
So, when I get up in the morning, and I start to wonder why my heart is beating so hard, I worry that my aorta might dissect again. When it doesn't, it pickles me tink. I have another aneurysm, lower this time, where my abdomen is. Yikes! I don't take my life for granted. Ever. That equals happy!
I'm crazy thankful for my life, knowing full well that it could be again taken from me, in seconds. I know what that's like. I've been there, before. I'm ten years out from last dissection, and I'm celebrating!
I may not take the same things for granted that other people do, but I know that we can learn from each other when we have losses in our lives. I think that we all take different, but equally important things for granted.
Each time I'm out on that beautiful river, and I catch a wily steelhead and it jumps and cartwheels all over that river, my heart beats wildly and it scares the heck out of me, but it thrills me all at the same time.
I don't know if it is the fish, or living through landing it that make me the happiest! But, I do know not to ever take either for granted!

November 12, 2014

I'm down on my knees,
I'm praying, God, please!
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!
No kidding. I'm that much of a spazz. I should pray that my breast cancer doesn't come back, or that my aorta stays all glued together! But, no! I want snow!
I'm going to be so mad if it doesn't snow in Tillamook, and it does in Oregon City. That won't be fair at all! I just got here! I have time to make it back to OC, but should I? For one snow event? I feel like it! I do!
Singing a song, "Hey, Bill, I gotta go, I gotta go to the snow!"
Chances are, though, if I were to do that, there would be no snow, anywhere. So, I'm staying put, just praying, "Lord, please! Give us snow!"
I hope I don't offend anyone. Seriously, I pray for real things over snow, but I do love the snow and it does make me magically happy!
Ever see a 54 year old woman jump up and down? That's me. Ever so gingerly, these days, but I still jump!
I just got back from taking the dogs for a walk. It's so funny how the cold air gives dogs the wilders. Wish it did for me! I'd do anything to have that energy! It does pick me up a bit, but after a while, man it's cold out there!
The wind cuts through everything, no matter what I wear, or how I dress. It's just freezing out there! I wish I had a dog's coat! How in the world can they jump in the water, and come out with tails wagging?
The river is pretty low. I was going to go fish, but I don't think I can hack the cold wind for long. Plus, it's just hard to fish in the wind, no matter what the temp.
I walked down to the end hole by the hiway, and watched for schools of salmon. Nope. Not today! I walked to the other end to look for spawning salmon. Nope! Not today!
I think we've had high water for enough days that they've shot upstream, for the most part. Another win for the fish. That's OK by me! Regardless of how much I love to see them, it's nicer yet to see them make a successful spawn.
If you can hack the bay, they are still catching salmon! Get on out there, if you aren't a sissy cakes like me!
Actually, we just don't have the boat for it, really. Soon, we will! RB boats is going to be starting one for us, soon! I can't wait! I just really like Jim Mikel. He's the nicest guy!
That's where I'll be selling the kwikfish this year. Out of RB boats booth. He was a sponsor of ifish for a long time!
Well, off I go! Another walk on the river in the cold! Maybe in the snow, soon??? Whoo hoooo!

November 15, 2014

Brrrr! But, no snow.
Please, take a moment to enter your kwikfish in the Kwikfish coloring contest, today! It closes, tomorrow! I can't wait to see which one we choose, this year. This is always so much fun!
You can click here to see everyone's entries, so far. I'll be creating a poll for voting, tomorrow. That takes forever, trying to delete comments, sort them out to make sure no one copied someone else's in order to comment on it, etc. It takes brains. Something I have in limited supply, lately!
The cutest little hummingbird comes to my feeder here at the coast, every morning. He comes to my window, and looks straight at me, keeping steadily afloat with his tiny wings, beating furiously. He then turns away, and takes a couple sips out of the feeder. It's almost like he's thanking me. Or, is he asking to be let in? I'm sure glad his feeder isn't frozen! If only animals, birds, etc., could talk!
I worry about my several hummies back in Oregon City. That's so hard, wondering if the feeders are getting filled or thawed back at the other house, when I'm not there. I wish my son David was as into birds as I am! It's just not his thing.
I keep having mini panic attacks about the Christmas party- and then I recall that we aren't having one, this year! This is so hard to get through my brain! No Christmas party?! That's just bizarre! We have been doing it for so long, that it's just part of life.
I have no excuse, therefore, not to get my Christmas shopping done, early. I better get on it!

November 16, 2014

"Good morning, Hummie."
(My neck cracks as I yawn.)
"Not feeling so good."
My head lowers to rest on the desk, nearly spilling my coffee. The above two sentences were about as much as I could eek out of me this morning.
Honest to God, I haven't felt this bad since consuming some kind of cheap wine in my senior year of high school with a girlfriend. It was called MD 20/20. It tasted like bad Kool-Aid, but it went down like good Kool-Aid. As a first timer, it also affected me strongly, as I had zero tolerance for alcohol.
And when I walked into my parents home, I learned all too well, that they had zero tolerance for this behavior. YIKES.
Mr. Hummy listens even to my thoughts, it seems.
Mr Hummy is listening and consoling me, while beating those tiny wings a million times per second. His beady little eyes seemed, to the contrary, soft and caring. He is suspended in air, just watching me. He gets me.
I yawn again. My head pounds. He stays.
"Stayed up too late, last night, Mr. Hummy."
It's not my fault. Bill's cheering and yelling lasted till well after midnight. Even after the game ended, Bill's excitement about the game kept me up later and later.
I need to think of a name for Mr. Hummy.
Mr. Hummy becomes bored with my whining and so, moves on to the feeder.
All of the sudden, two hummies showed up, whizzing around each other! Two! We've never had two in the winter! I'm as excited as I can be, which isn't nearly as much as on a normal feel-good-happy day.
Right now, as much as I love snow, my excitement would have been the same. Not so much!
You know, I'm not much into football, but I have to say that the excitement of having the Beavers win last night was contagious. I couldn't help but be hyped up!
Before hand, Bill gave me a short, elementary lesson predicting why they might be slayed.
Upstairs, I was wrapped up in covers, trying to watch 20/20, and trying to drift off, as Bill anxiously and with much animation, cheered the Beavers, down stairs.
No doubt by the sounds of it, his prediction was wrong!
I'm way split down the middle regarding the Ducks and the Beavers. My side of the family are all Ducks from way back. My Grandfather was a Duck. He was in some prestigious fraternity that my brother David was also a member of. I'm ashamed that I don't know what it was called, but it is history in our family to be a good and proud Duck.
Along comes Bill, the Beaver. Not only a Beaver, but a very dedicated Beaver, at that.
Once, while fishing, my brother David was on the dock, waiting to be picked up by Bill, in Bill's boat. As we got closer, we spotted David, all dressed in Green and yellow, and by his side, a green and yellow Duck tackle bag.
Bill, also, has memorabilia of many sorts. OSU hats, sweatshirts, dice hanging from his truck mirror, bumper stickers, jackets, and such. He even has a flag to fly off his boat!
Beaver, meet Duck. UH OH.
As we came closer to the dock, Bill was able to make out all that (darn) Ducks gear, and as we slowed down on approach to pick him up, Bill immediately sped up and right past my brother!
It was a joke. David and Bill actually get on very well. and we did laughingly come back to pick him up, but it wasn't without a lot of ribbing for the duration of the trip!
In another event at Thanksgiving, full bellied, Bill and I headed out to his truck to leave, only to find his Beavers decorated truck, all dressed in Duck memorabilia.
It's all in fun. (I think?)
I'm the oddball in both families, in more ways than a million. I am the black sheep who has not graduated from College at all. I am neither Duck nor Beaver. On my Facebook page, it asks what college I went to and what I studied.
College? Portland State
Studied? Not much.
And that's the truth!
Amongst the many disadvantages of not graduating college, it does free me up to root for any or both or many teams!
I spitter-spattered my education here and there. I spittered music privately for twenty some years, and spattered Portland State and many Community colleges, dependant on which community I lived in, at the time. Anywhere from Clatsop to Clackamas, I have credits!
For the longest time, the only credit I didn't have, was with my Mom. My Mom continuously tried to get me to settle down and settle in. To be "normal".
Her final effort was to get me adjusted at OSU, oddly enough!
At that time, I had just broken up with a long time boyfriend, and I was extremely heart broken. She thought if I could just get into school, meet some friends in a dormitory situation, I would get over the heart break and "become something". You know, "normal". :)
Frankly, I think my whole life, she didn't understand me. I also didn't understand me.
I wasn't a cookie cutter kid, like my sisters and (oops! Overwrite error! The rest of the 16th is still in Tillamook!)

November 18, 2014

VOTE (Click on VOTE!) and vote for your favorite Kwikfish! Spent all day yesterday creating the poll, and I can't wait to see who wins! Let's get this race on the road!
After we get the top 5 winners, we'll have one last vote, and then, that's the winner! Whoo hooo!
Oh! By the way! For all of the people who knew and adored Karla from the Smokehouse, this is from Grant!
I was so busy yesterday with the poll, that I didn't even see this until MsOutdoors posted it on the board, and then I checked my e mail! (So, it's not tonight, it was last night!) Don't fear, though! You can watch it linked below, or next weekend on TV! Set your recordings! I record every segment anyhow, just because I like watching old and new!
PS "Jeff" Kastner is his awesome photographer.
PSS. We have TWO grosbeaks hanging around. It's awfully late in the year!

Hi Jen - Bill

I attended Karla's memorial in RB yesterday and it was SRO - so many people who knew her thru the decades had so many kind things to say about Karla.
Jeff and I also produced a segment that will air in this weekend's GG program - it airs tonight at 11:35pm and it will re-air next weekend on NW Cable News across the region.
It was posted to the KGW site today and I thought you might consider sharing with Ifish members and in your next column - I am certain many members and readers had long friendships or had done business with Karla over the half century that she operated "Karla's Smokehouse."

http://www.kgw.com/story/travel/destinations/grants-getaways/2014/11/16/getaways-karlas-smokehouse/19135759/

November 22, 2014

Upon arisal this morning- (No. "arisal" is not a word- but I like it, and in checking, it's been googled 152 times, so there!)
This morning, I fully intended to have a "good little day". Nothing could be much worse than the day before. Then I somehow, mysteriously, got lost in a world of trying to figure out the new Itunes (12.0). I became totally confused and lost! It's not that much different, really, just less intuitive! Just what we all need, right?
Bill complains to me pretty often about computer problems, but on a much different level. He really doesn't care for computers, or the whole generation "of". Bill gets stuck on basics. But, the frustration is all too alike, no matter what level you are confused about!
All I wanted to do was to delete one movie from my ipad that it said was on there! I couldn't figure it out, so I googled it. That's when the trouble started. From that Google, I learned something that made me yet more ignorant and google-prone.
Finally realizing the hopelessness of going 'round and 'round, I vowed out of the trap, never to let that happen to me, again! Well, until next time!
Computer confusion is here to stay, I'm afraid!
I'm listening to my neighbor and his high pitched leaf blower. Yes! That's where I'd rather be! Mindlessly blowing leaves! It calls my name.
Before I follow my (leaf) calling, I must tell you a tale.
I really don't even want to "go" there, but I need to. I need to write this down. It helps me to journal things, even if it is painful.
Yesterday was the most perfect example of a marfan-emotional roller coaster that I can recall enduring.
It started somewhere last week, when I was in Tillamook.
The other day was about the same feeling as it was four years ago. It triggered a bad memory. I was in Tillamook, and the weather was the same, the time was about the same, and I had just finished coffee, and was up to take a shower.
As I closed the door to the shower, I did something out of bravery that I am ashamed to say that I don't do, nearly enough.
I did a self breast exam.
I had a mammogram a month ago, and I was proclaimed a four year survivor! That's awesome for Triple Negative Breast Cancer! Out of that confidence, I vowed to do self exams for the next year, monthly, to ensure I would get to be the ultimate! A five year survivor! That's the goal for all TNBC affected. Five years is a general marker for being cured. After that general time period, our chances for reoccurrence is really fairly low!
For me, having originally found a cancerous tumor during a self exam, I now find them terrifying! I mean, what if? What if I find something... again!? Screech! My general reaction is "No Touchy!" No touch-no tumor! Makes sense, right? Not.
I know I should do these more often than women who have never had cancer! I should! But, I just don't wanna! It's so hard for me! I wonder if other breast cancer survivors feel that way.
But, I was confident that day. Everything was blue-sky wonderful that morning on the river, and by golly, I was gettin' er done. Blinding my fear, I began.
And what do you know-!! Boo! The ghost jumped out at me. There it was! A lump, a lump, a lump.
Nooooo. My heart sank.
Yep! It was there! Wasn't it?
Yes! My smile turned into a frown. Plain as day, it was there! Exactly where it had been, before!
My heart raced. I wanted to run from it. I flew out of that shower as if it were boiling water hot, and yelled to Bill.
"IS it? Is that a lump?" He could feel it too.
Noooo. My heart fell to the ground and I swore his fell, too, beating on the ground, beside mine. We sat, just staring at each other, speechless.
He started with the positive-thoughts speech, but it went in one ear and out the other. Only little bits of partial positives stuck.
Ah, crud.
I dialed my doc, made an appointment for an ultrasound, packed up and headed to the city. You know, the 'medical' city.
I already had an appointment for an ultrasound on Friday. I have day surgery next Tuesday to fix a vein in my leg that got messed up when the stent was placed there, ten long years ago. It's always something. If I sat down to figure out how many surgeries I am behind on, it would be a list longer than my groceries.
In order to do this upcoming day surgery, they wanted to check on my stents, to see how things were going.
So, the breast cancer ultrasound was at 8:30 in the morning in one building on the hill.
My other ultrasound would be in an adjacent building at 10:00. Good enough. One miracle of a fell swoop and I'd be out of there by noon.
Of course I was nervous, waiting for the hours, the days to pass until Friday.
Thursday night, I was restless and sleepless. The alarm went off at 5:30 AM. Got up, dizzily read my e mail, had coffee, and I was off. The traffic was awful yesterday, due to the Sellwood bridge construction.
I was late, but they got me right in.
You know, I can't help but believe that the medical professionals get a little bit amped up when there is something really wrong. That's not an insult, but medical people are two people. They are the scientist, and secondarily, the people with heart.
I'd prayed. I hadn't told many people about this event. Even with my prayers, I just had this awful shadow of doom over me, this time. If cancer comes back with TNBC, it is untreatable. What they call "metastatic breast cancer." There is no cure. I hate that!
Anyhow, the test was over quickly, and they assured me that it was only scar tissue from the previous surgery! YAY! I was so relieved! I called or texted the few people I told!
Praise God! I was ashamed for not trusting in God! I promised Him I would be more trusting. He will always take care of me!
With a skip in my step, I was out of there, laughing and smiling, even through my sleepless state. I was going to celebrate the rest of the day, the rest of my life! Yippeee!
Next, just an easy-peasy ultrasound pre-op on my legs and I was outa-there-home! Whoop, whoop!
I sat in the waiting room, feeling great, and wanting to get this done. I longed for a skinny caramel latte in celebration.
They called me in, and I was laughing with the techs. I had the sillies.. -told them to please disregard the state of the old growth timber on my legs... ha ha. It was winter time, and I hadn't shaved my legs.
Turns out, though, that the stents are actually in my abdomen. I didn't know that! The entry points were in each side of my groin, so I didn't even have to disrobe. Just unbutton my pants a bit.
They were poking around with the probe sliding around on warmed goop, looking for the stents. OHSU is a teaching school, so there was one male teacher tech, and one female resident. All of the sudden, the teacher tech looked ultra concerned. Almost panicked, he ordered her, "Back up!" I jerked my head around to view the screen. What's wrong?
"Look! Right there." He told the tech. "An endoleak!"
Of course, the techs can't diagnose you, and they aren't to act panicked or even let on if there is a problem. There was obviously a dang problem and it wasn't a secret at all! My heart sank back down. What on earth now?!
Let me tell you. I have an abdominal aneurism. I have an endoleak I am well aware of. It is why I couldn't walk after my aortic dissection. I have had it for many years. It is not pleasant to think how delicate my parts are, down there. It is leaking into several layers of a false lumen. As my son Andrew told a friend once, when he was just seven, "My heart could 'splode at any time." Out of the mouths of babes...
It has, thankfully, remained unchanged, stable, and although not a good thing, the risk of fixing it is not worth it, at this point. The surgery to repair it is very scary and intense. There is a pretty high "'failure" rate attached to the surgery. Failure, as in... I die. So, as long as it is stable, as long as I don't lift things, as long as I don't get hit in the gut, (or play too many salmon- Sh!)-- I'll be fine. I think, anyhow. It's still a bit of a mystery to me.
Yes. It could rupture, and my thoracic aneurysm did, but I survived.
For now, I'm alive. It is what it is.
Obviously, I learned much later, the tech was not aware of my history.
Imagine as a tech, you were looking at someone's aorta, and you saw a leak. You'd freak out, too. That's not a good thing! But...
You know, as I get older, I find I'm a little more stressed about my health problems. I don't want to be a hypochondriac. I really do have darn serious health problems, and I guess I deserve to be a hypochondriac, but I never have been and ever don't want to be! But- I do worry a bit more as I age. Mostly, I'm panicked to have to go to the hospital and stay. I don't want to leave my dog. I just don't want to miss out on any of my life, mundane as it may be!
Last scare was when they thought I had an infection in my heart. I was a very bad patient. They wouldn't let me go home, and so I escaped from the ER by sneaking out the swinging doors when two surgeons went through them. I ran to David, my dog and the car, waiting outside, even with IV tubes in my veins! I just unhooked myself, and snuck out of there, giggling the whole way! I did! I can't believe I did that! David talked me into going back like a good patient. I did. The tide has turned. He is now the parent.
Turns out they were wrong about the infection.
The docs have a right to be concerned about me. My condition is serious. But, I do find that many of them, especially those not totally familiar with my case, look at me like science experiment, instead of a person with feelings.
And that is how I felt, in that ultrasound office. The tech was telling me how dangerous this was, (oh, really!?) and that I might have to stay and be rushed into surgery and... and... the more he talked, the more I went into escape mode. I did NOT like this tech! I did not like him, Sam I am!! He began to get frustrated with me, also, and was addressing me with that condescending "Ma'am" stuff. He was scaring me and insulting my medical (degree, ha ha) knowledge, all at the same time. I do know my medical condition very well, though!
From the tip of my arachnodactyly toes to the lack of vitreous in my eyes.
Anyhow, I asked repeatedly, "Shouldn't you compare these test results with my previous tests? Shouldn't you look at the abdominal CT that I had just had a few months prior?" I told him that I knew I had an abdominal aneurysm. Had it changed? He wouldn't even listen to me, though! Pheh! He was on to his discovery and by golly, it was serious.
So, let's see. In review, I was free of breast cancer, but I was going to have to have the scary surgery that I have had looming in my future for years. The one that could kill me. The one that my surgeon keeps telling me about, but hasn't done yet, as the risk still outweighs the benefit. Damn. It. I had not been prepared for this possibility. It was the furthest from my mind, lately!
When they left to go call my doctor, I grabbed my iphone and called my own doctor. My cardiologist and fishing friend, Dr.. Menashe. He advised me, calmly. He is the most wonderful man! He has followed my son and I for over 20 years. He told me to let them finish the test, and to get Dr. Song, my surgeon, in on the test results. That's all we could do.
I told the techs that I'd be on campus should anyone want to talk to me, so with much trepidation, they finally 'let' me go. They told me the doctor would call me.
Until then, I had no idea if what they were seeing was indeed something that was changed, or if it were nothing. It was indeed stressful.
The thought of having breast cancer again is scary, but this heart stuff, and heart surgery... it is scary, too! I don't know which is more scary!
On my way home, I was a mess. I was tired. I was hungry, but I was also sick to my stomach. I was nervous. Just a nervous wreck.
The phone rang while in traffic. I couldn't get the darn phone to sync through my car speakers, so I missed the call. I pulled over, and listened to the message.
I KNEW IT!!! A very calm and kind partner of my Tuesday surgeon said that yes, there was an endoleak, but from looking at my records, it was the same endoleak that I had many years before. (I KNEW it!!!) It appeared stable, and there was no problem, and that I should show up just like normal for my Tuesday surgery.
I felt like a limp rag. I sank back into my chair in my car and just took a moment, there to Thank God.
Later, I called Dr. Menashe, and told him the whole story. He was pretty upset about the tech letting on that there was a problem. They aren't supposed to diagnose. I told Dr. Menashe to remember... I'm not an easy patient. I kind of stood up for the tech, even though I really didn't like his bedside manner at all. I explained that it would have saved my life, had we not known about it. That the tech didn't really diagnose it, and I didn't believe he really broke any rules or protocol- but just got a little over excited about the endoleak, and probably didn't think I'd know the term, "endoleak". Oops. Wrong patient! I know way too many medical terms!
What a day in the life of a marfan syndrome patient! Let me tell you. There is nothing about my life that you want. Nothing!
It has got me to realizing, though, that yes, I have some loose wires in my abdomen, and I should be very careful. I shouldn't pick up that bag of dog food, or carry both jugs of milk into the house. I really shouldn't play those salmon like I used to. I need to hand them off to Bill, after the first rush of the bite, and maybe just a little into the play.
Why? Because I don't want to go to the hospital. I don't want to have to have that surgery, and I want to enjoy my life for as long as I can!
Everything happens for a reason.
It is these things that happen in my life, these little bits of terrifying reality that help me to wake up each and every day and Thank God for the blue skies, and for the clouds, and for the breath that travels through to my very core.
It's very easy to love and appreciate your life, when doctors are just waiting for you to come in with a serious problem to fix. They do get excited about the prospect of a dissected aorta. It would have been a pretty cool thing if that tech had discovered an endoleak in me, and saved my life.
Not this time, buddy. That's my endoleak, and I found it, first. :)

November 27, 2014
Happy Thanksgiving!
These are from a collection of Thanksgiving candles
that I have from my Aunt Dulcina. I love them, so much,
and they come out to sit on my piano, each Thanksgiving!

To my dearest fellow fishing friends:
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I am so thankful for so much, this Thanksgiving, and I sincerely hope that you are, also!
It's fun to get up in the morning, and be thankful for the covers you were under, and then for the coffee that is so effortless to make, and to hold hot in your hands. Just everything, even if you don't have all that you would like to have! The simplest of things that you don't even think about are things to be thankful for. There is always someone, somewhere, who has less!
I read the essay written by my Grandfather, at least a couple times a year. I simply love it. It really puts me in my place, when I think that I would like to have more than I do.
This time of year, there are many threads on ifish about the bounty of fish we have taken from our rivers, bays and streams.
Read about:
Upriver Brights
Memorable Fishing stories from 2014
Show Your Fresh Winter Steelhead Pics Fall/Winter 2014/2015
Favorite Pic This Year?

Just so, so many things to be thankful for, in this fishing year. And a lot to look forward to, also!

Look at this... 2015 is going to be a fun year!

So, get on out there! Get your fishing gear ready, laugh at the frigid temperatures, and just get out there! Besides the possible prize of a wonderful salmon dinner, you will come home with a better attitude that will last throughout your week!
If you are like me, we need to fish! Every time I go with Bill, he says to me, "We really needed this!" And, oh... how right he is!
If you need a prayer for your dinner table this afternoon, feel free to use this one (in part, anyhow) that my Grandfather wrote. It goes with this essay, and I'd be honored if you'd read it (by clicking here!) I'd be further honored if you'd use it at your dinner table!

“And forgive me, please dear Lord, for all my mistakes, and there were many. You know, Lord, that I dislike crowds and the likes with all their rabble and babble. I believe that perhaps, you have spoiled me a little by going with me on every fishing and hunting trip that I ever took.
Many were the times, that just you and I, up some winding canyon, with nothing but hush clean up to the brim, save the low moaning of the wind in the pines and the music of tumbling water, interspersed occasionally by the raucous cry of a bird, who challenged not you, but me for being there. And how I loved and enjoyed all of it."

November 29, 2014

VOTE The FINAL FIVE Kwikfish!

Can you believe... even, that it is 2 days till December?! Oh, my gosh! Yesterday, it was July! How did this happen!?
I'm working on the final Kwikfish poll. I take the top five of these, and we do one last vote! I can't wait to see our 2015 Ifish Kwikfish! YAY! (Insert sound of many fishermen and women clapping!)
If you didn't get a chance to vote on the main poll, you can vote on this one! Whooopeee!
Honey, it's cold outside! I'm warm and comfortable, with a cup of steaming java by my side. Life is good! Bill and I are going out to fish the lower hole, today. We are going to bring the dogs and a picnic! FUN!

November 30, 2014
VOTE The FINAL FIVE Kwikfish!

WOW! I'm so impressed with the voting! Thank you, you guys! Thank you for contributing! This makes me so happy!
I know that it's only 200 voters or so, and that's not that many with the amount of our membership, but it is pretty difficult to get people to vote. I don't know why, but it always has been!
I never want to lose my sense of wonder, and I think, sometimes, that this is relative to the amount of hard times people go through as they grow older. As soon as I realized that, I decided not to let that happen! I'm going to refuse to fall victim!
On my way home to the river, I was driving by a place where the "ditch pickles" gather. (Giggle- That's what Chris Sessions calls chums!) They
Chum salmon gather at the side of the road in a creek ditch off the Kilchis. I realized that I hadn't stopped even once, for a couple years, to see if they were there.
I used to stop, daily! There, and on the bridge for salmon, cutthroat, fish, fish, fish! And I hadn't been stopping, anymore!
Not being able to get by there without stopping is wonder. That's what it is to me, anyhow, and I don't have a lot of it, lately!
Also, it's sort of a chain reaction, losing it. It starts with some bad life event, (Like losing my son?) and then grows, just like happiness does, but the other way around! It's a spiraling loss, downwards; a depression of sorts, I guess.
Part of that downward loss for me, is the loss of excitement on ifish, too.
For the last 15 years or so, I have gotten a whole lot of my happiness, relative to how much excitement there was on ifish. I think when I sold it, I pushed that feed of excitement out of my life.
When I cancelled the Christmas party, due to lack of interest, I detached and spiraled down a bit more. That was really tough for me, so I'm just so, so happy to see a little bit of excitement over this contest! It just makes me happy happy!!
So, now I'm going to take this little bit of excitement, and build a bridge with it, back to my overall happiness and wonder!
Maybe, even... have a Christmas party, NEXT year!
But, for today... On the way to the store, I'm stopping to count the darn ditch pickles! I get such a rush, seeing them! More happiness building, yet!
So, Ho, ho, ho, THERE!

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