Hoşgeldiniz to 2013

Welcome to the New Year!  I hope everyone had safe and happy New Years celebrations.  Bülent and I have been so busy lately that we welcomed the New Year from bed, where we had been snuggling and watching movies.  It worked for me!  Start the New Year as you mean to continue right?  I am sure many people are thinking about New Year Resolutions and how to make changes.  I think I am just going to continue the journey I started several months ago, trying to appreciate the good, and live a more balanced life.

It has been a difficult year.  This day last year I was packing my bags to go back to the U.S.  I  had taken a leave of absence due to my father’s health and was supposed to head back at the end of the semester in late January.  I had spoken to my family a couple of days before and I had decided to change my plane ticket on December 30.  It was expensive to change a ticket two days before the flight, but it was the best decision I ever made.  My father’s funeral was on the original date in January on which I was supposed to arrive. 

I had taken the semester off and my school had hired someone to take my place, so I stayed in N.H., grieving and healing with my family.  It was difficult to be separated from my husband for six months, but has changed our relationship for the better.  We are stronger and more united, we know there is nothing we wouldn’t do to help the other…been there, done that.  We have now had bad and trying times and just love each other more for our individual responses to them. 

My time in the U.S. last year was very precious to me.  It allowed me to spend time with my mother while she needed me, and while I needed her.  I was able to get to know my brother as the man he is now, as opposed to the boy he was when I left.  I was also able to get to know his long time girlfriend, who is as lovely inside as she is out.  I went to my college roommate’s wedding and celebrated her happiness with her, and our college friends, some of whom I haven’t seen in five years.   I drove from Texas to New Hampshire, meeting Bülent’s dearest old friends, and visiting mine along the way.   I also went to BlogHer ‘12!

My oldest and dearest friend made me an Auntie—albeit in a terrifying way.  Due to her daughter’s insistence to make a (extremely early) entrance I was able to meet her in the NICU before I came back to Turkey.  

Health wise: Bülent and I went vegetarian (almost six months now) and I joined a gym a few months ago.  The breast lumps have been vanquished—well not vanquished but at least identified as benign.  To top it all off, our dog, Butterfinger, is not letting cataracts get her down.   

The year has been challenging and rewarding.  I am hoping that this next year will be easier, because we kind of need a break.  But we are starting the year off right.  Last year my dad wanted to take our family on a last vacation, a cruise, due to his limited mobility, but he died before we were able.  

Well, we are taking that fucking cruise.  Come January break, my mom, brother and I are going to go.  We are going to celebrate what was, what is and what is to come, because that is what life is all about.  So 2013—bring it on!

My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely little lumps—Check it out!

Fergie says it all.

December is usually a busy month for most people.   It is the holidays, between parties and other things the month seems to fly by.  In addition December is exam month for my students, so there is a lot of prep, as well as grading.  Bülent had a business trip to Prague for a week and then after that we had a trip to Vienna planned for Christmas, WHEE!

So that made the health issue that popped up inconvenient, as well as unwelcome.  Several weeks ago, I found a lump in one of my breasts.  Well, actually, Bülent found it, as he tends to be more vigilant in investigating them.  Considering the history of hormonal cancers in my family, neither one of us was pleased with the development.  I called my gynecologist and she sent me  to the lab for a sonogram.  If the sonogram did show any issues she told me she would refer me to a general surgeon, which is the typical protocol in Turkey.  She was very helpful, she offered to make the lab appointment for me if I was concerned about language barriers.  I also have her cell phone number, since her secretary doesn’t speak English.  If I have questions or concerns or need to make an appointment I am able to call my doctor directly. 

We were eager to get the situation resolved.  However, we did feel relieved when other symptoms popped up, which indicated it was not a serious health risk.  One of my breasts was sore and swollen.  It was twice the size as the other and looked like a lopsided boob job.  It was very uncomfortable.  Poor Bülent, the week before he leaves on a business trip, the playground was closed.  We hurried to arrange all of the appointments and tests to be done before Bülent headed off to Prague, in case I needed support and translation help.   

So the day after we found the lump, Bülent and I headed to the lab. He was great, made the appointment for me, then came in the exam room and translated for me.  Turns out it was not just one lump, but several in both breasts.   They told us most likely they were just cysts, but the lab recommended sending me to the general surgeon since one of the lumps was so large.   The surgeon had a great reputation, and seemed to deserve it.  He reassured me it was  fibrocystic breast syndrome and nothing to worry about, though he did send samples to the lab just to make sure.  Actually I was really impressed.  He aspirated it with a needle, I did research and in the U.S. it says that they numb the area with lidocaine, then guide the needle in with a sonogram.  However, my doctor just covered the whole area in iodine, explored a little bit with his fingers, and slid the needle right in.  I was a little surprised at his nonchalance, but then was more surprised that it didn’t hurt AT ALL!  Clearly the man knew his stuff!  It was a big needle, but no pinch or sting the whole time!

The tests all came back clear, but he wants to see in a few months just to check.  I have to say, I was very pleased with all of the care I received, from the gyno returning my call at 7 p.m. on Saturday night, and the lab, fitting me in after work, and the expertise of the doctor.   We were both relieved that the lump turned out to be nothing.  It made our upcoming vacation seem all the more special, a celebration of Christmas, love and health.  Especially love!