Saturday, August 19, 2017

Lola's Impending Surgery...

So, last Saturday while my sister Abbey was visiting, she had Lola snuggled under her arm...on her back...when she says to me, "Jenny, Lola has a bump under her nipple".


At first I'm thinking, "It's probably just a lipoma..." but then, I felt it: this bump was harder than that. It felt like a tiny knot, or what I would compare to a swollen gland when you get sick. I, myself, used to get swollen glands in my neck and groin area when I would get sick quite frequently. But since she had a vet visit the following Tuesday to have shots updated, I just made sure to mention it at the appointment. It just didn't feel...right.

Between the day it was discovered, two more bumps appeared; one next to the original, and one above the nipple that did feel like a lipoma ( or a bug bite ) 

Tuesday comes and we go to see Dr. Kirmayer. I mention the bumps and, of course, he ends up feeling the bug-bite-type bump first. He's thinking it's just a lipoma. Then he feels the other ones. And he goes, "I don't like these bumps...I don't like them at all"; my stomach drops.

 
He tells us that he wants to remove these lumps. Kirmayer talks kinda fast and is very straight-forward, so I don't initially catch the medical jargon that he spews...but what I do understand is the words "breast cancer". He tells me that he needs to do a few x-rays and a blood panel prior to surgery to make sure that she's healthy enough for anesthesia and, I'm presuming, to make sure that he doesn't see anything that would indicate a cancer that has spread via the x-rays. Thankfully they came back clear. We got a call on Thursday with the bloodwork results. He said they were clean but during the surgery he wants to do another panel because her blood cell count is up like she's trying to fight off something. He doesn't sound too concerned, but wants to make sure. 

I'm concerned, though, and praying that my Mama-Pug is okay. She's been by my side for 10 years and I cannot imagine my baby having cancer. They are going to remove the two small bumps AND the entire mammory duct just to be safe; then it will be biopsied to determine if it is benign. He said that he doesn't THINK that it's anything yet, but it could potentially become something.

When I called for a quote on the cost of surgery ( since he forgot to let Nate know during the bloodwork call ), I also asked the receptionist to let me know exactly what he thought these bumps were since I didn't catch it at the appointment. I told her to just let me know via voicemail since I was at work. This is what they may be:

Hyperplasia, which is pretty much a benign overgrowth of cells in an area...but could potentially become cancerous.

Adenoma, which seems to pretty much be just a swollen gland.

Adenocarcinoma which is cancer in the mammory gland ( in her case ) But I'm praying to God and anyone else that this is NOT the case!!!

So these are the scenarios. I'm hoping that, if it's anything, it's benign and was caught early enough that we don't have to continue any treatment. After what happened with Haley, and this being my child, it's a little overwhelming. Thankfully, the surgery is estimated under what I was hoping the max would be...so that eases a little bit of tension. I'm just a very worried fur-mom right now...

Surgery is scheduled for September 7th. We will drop her off in the morning and Kirmayer said that the procedure itself should only take about 30 minutes. It is an outpatient procedure and she will be able to come home that day, so that's good not only for my mental health but also my bank account.

Baby Lola
I'm asking all of you to keep Lola Jane in your thoughts and prayers and send good vibes for benign lumps and a speedy recovery. If you know me, you know Lola is everything to me and she's been my rock for these 10 years. And if you've ever met Lola, you're probably in love with her, too. 

*fingers crossed*



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Thank God for Care Credit

**This blog is not sponsered by CareCredit or Synchrony Financial and is solely my personal opinions.
 

 I need to start off by saying...thank GOD for Care Credit!

I was talking to a fellow coworker after work today about this. She said that anytime someone hands her a Care Credit card to pay for their procedure, she smiles. Why? Because her dog just had to have a tumor removed and, without this payment source, they probably would not have been able to do so. 

...and had it not been for this credit card, I would've wiped my savings account clean with the Haley fiasco thus leaving me at a loss when it comes to what will be going on with Lola ( I'll blog about that later this week when the results come back... ) 

Care Credit is a healthcare-based credit card that it helpful in numerous cases. Once you're accepted, you can use it at participating doctors, dentists, vets, and various other health care services.  

One of the best features is that for more expensive procedures, a lot of offices have "promotional offers" for free-or-low interest up to so many months.

Without this option, I would've had to pay $6500 out of pocket immediately for Haley's misdiagnosis and surgery. I would've had to pay $334 unexpectedly for a vet bill I assumed would be less than $200. And, if I chose to, I could use it for Lola's procedure...but I've decided not to abuse it if I have the funds. 

Of course, people worry about approval. I wasn't too worried about being approved because I've really focused on building my credit these last few years and have worked damn hard to do so. But if you are coming upon a medical expense that you aren't sure you can afford, you can go to the website to see if you are pre-approved prior to your appointment. Even if it's just for a small amount, something is definitely better than nothing.

And like I told Nate, I could use Care Credit for a breast reduction if I decided. It can be used at the chiropractor. It can be used for Lasik surgery! But you want to make sure that your provider accepts Care Credit before anything. And ask them if they offer any promotions! 

I also learned after the second vet bill that you CAN have multiple promotions on your card. Although you only make one payment a month towards it and they automatically apply it to the promotion that ends the earliest, you can call to have that sum allotted to each charge: meaning that if you pay $300, you can apply $60 of that to one charge and the other $240 to the other. That way you are paying down both charges at the same time and one doesn't have to suffer over the other. 

Yes, it sounds a little complicated but if you need to see the dermatologist for a mole you just can't stand anymore or you are sick and tired of glasses...or your dog suddenly gets sick or you really need a readjustment...there's always Care Credit to fall back on.

It has definitely been a saving grace for me and I'm so thankful to have it as an option!


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Dumbing Down Dental Implants

UH OH!

So, you went for your 6 month ( or year...or first-visit-in-a-while ) check-up at your dentist's office...and they tell you that your tooth is bad. SHIT! Now what?

Hopefully for you, it's not a visible one. Then, at least you won't have to worry about "walking around with a missing tooth" ( there is a temporary fix for that, though, that I will go over briefly ) But it does happen. Heredity, hygiene techniques and diet have a lot to do with how our teeth behave for us. And unfortunately, sometimes that really sucks.

My last two jobs focused on dental implants in their practices. So what I'm going to do today is answer some of the questions people may have about dental implants and what they are. And, as always, comments and questions are welcomed if I don't cover something that you've wanted to know.

comfortscaredentalshermanoaks.com  

So what IS a dental implant?

If you take a look at the picture above that I found on another dental office's page, you will see 2 images. The first image is what we specialize in--the dental implant. A dental implant is a titanium "root" that is placed to replace a tooth that has been previously extracted. What you see sticking just slightly out of the gum tissue is called a healing abutment, which has the sole purpose of keeping the gum from growing into the implant.

You see, a dental implant is hollow on the inside about halfway down the post--this is because there are interchangeable parts to the implant from placement to full restoration, so we need to keep that "hole" safe from tissue overgrowth, schmutz and food particles.  

A good amount of people ask me, "Will I leave the office with a tooth?" and the answer is no. The process of dental implants from start to finish takes numerous months and 2-3 "stages". The very last stage is permanent restoration which is pictured in the second image. That is the stage where your general dentist will cement on a permanent crown which then cannot be removed. Unfortunately, you will NOT leave ( our office, at least ) with a full tooth that day. 

Dental implants are a good idea for many different cases:

Agenesis, or hypodontia, is when a patient doesn't develop certain teeth. With the help of orthodontics ( braces ), space can be made in the mouth to place an implant where a tooth never developed.

A tooth has abscessed ( became infected ) and needs to be removed, but you do not want to live without said tooth.

Sometimes patients find it a better option to have a tooth pulled rather than go through the headache of having a large cavity filled/a crown placed/root canal therapy/trying to fix a tooth that they can't guarantee will last them much longer. 

Implants are also used for edentulous ( no teeth ) patients as stabilizers for dentures. That way, instead of having to use pastes and constantly worry about loose dentures, they snap on to implants as to stay in place.

Now I'm going to go through a quick run-down of the process of dental implants from the surgical end--please also be aware that these our the steps in OUR office, so opinions are not of ALL oral surgery offices!:

Stage 1 is where we extract the tooth and place a bone-grafting material in the socket. No, we don't take bone from a donor source on your own body; it's sterilized materials from a bank. Grafting is done mostly to larger teeth like your molar areas due to the fact that once a tooth is extracted from that area, well, you have a big hole. And you can't successfully fill a big hole with a little implant. So the grafting is done to promote your body to grow bone in that hole; without it, the hole will begin to kinda "cave in" on itself, thus leaving nothing good to put an implant in to. Do we graft the other teeth? Sometimes. Do we have to ALL the time? No. Everything is done on a case-by-case basis.

...but if we do place grafting material, we allow it to heal for at least 3 months before moving forward.

Sometimes we can get away with doing what is called an "immediate implant". This means that once the tooth is extracted, everything else looks good around the hole and the hole is small enough to place an implant right away. We usually still put a little bit of the bone graft around the implant to fill in the space, but when we are able to do it this way it shaves 3 months off of healing time and gets you a crown a lot faster. This is not a valid option in all cases, though...

But if an immediately placement is not an option for you, once the graft heals and an xray determines that we have adequate bone, we move to stage 2: placing the implant.

Whether asleep or awake, the gum area is numbed where the implant will be placed. The tissue is reopened to expose the bone we just grew. A "pilot hole" is then made in the bone with the handpiece and, with the use of X-Guide Navigation, the implant is drilled and placed. It's kinda like laparoscopic surgery but for implants, is how I explain it. Once the implant is placed, we put on that healing abutment and you usually get a few stitches. And that's that.

When people hear the words "dental implant" they automatically assume it's a lot of pain; but actually, dental implants usually hurt a lot less than an extraction of a tooth!

Once the implant is placed, we allow THAT to heal an additional 3 months--thus making the process ( on OUR end ) about 6 months long. Of course, each person heals differently so it can be slightly longer, but usually 6 months is adequate. And if the tooth is a tooth you're worried about not having for 6 months, your general dentist can make you what is called a flipper, which is a temporary "partial denture" to mimic a tooth while the area is healing. Each office will charge a different fee for a flipper, but it's usually a few hundred dollars...

When the implant has healed the 3 months, we do a quick test by torquing the healing abutment to make sure the implant does not move. This shows that the jaw bone has integrated with the implant and is ready to be restored. 

The reason we wait to have your general dentist make a crown for your implant until this final check is because each crown is made SPECIFIC for that case. Even with technology, if something is redone even a millimeter different, the crown will not fit...thus leaving you to have to purchase a whole new crown! We want to make sure everything is as it should be before you begin the process of restoration.

If everything looks good at the final check, we give the OK to go see your dentist and they will go through the process of getting a crown put on your implant for you.

I know that this is a lot of info and it's probably not "dumbed down" as much as I'd planned ( it's hard to do that when you understand the process, apparently... ) but that's why I strongly advise you to educate yourself, have consultations/second opinions if necessary, and research all your options. Each office operates differently, charges different fees and, well, has a different "feel" to them. If you speak to a doctor and don't like their vibe, go elsewhere. Price shop. Look at their reviews on Google and Facebook. And please!...never go to a "same day" dental implant office! It may sound better, but it's not. 

There's a process for a reason. And you get gut feelings for a reason, too. Go with both of them when it comes to your body and your health ❤ 



  

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What I Threw Together

Sometimes, I get lazy.

...okay, a lot of times I get lazy...

...and after waking up early, working all day and then going to the gym, I don't really feel like making dinner.

But a bitch gotta eat! ( and Nate... )

Chicken is a staple in our house and we eat it quite frequently, so sometimes it's hard to come up with "new" ways to make it. So in turn, I get creative ( and...lazy ) Then we get things like this:


( looks pretty good, right? ) 

This is what it is:

*chicken boobs
*green peppers
*white onion
*jalapeno

Yup!...that's it.

I had chicken marinating in teriyaki for, like, a day a half. Grandma ended up having dinner one day during the week, so chicken took the back burner. Usually when I don't have a specific meal planned, I just throw chicken breasts in a Tupperware with some kind of marinade ( Aldi usually has some good ones for less than a $1 a bottle! ) So I thought, "What can I throw in with this chicken to  use for a *side*?"

Well, Doc gave me a bunch of jalapenos, green peppers and chili from his garden. I decided that since I like green peppers and Nate likes jalapeno, that I would just throw all of that under the chicken ( with some onion for good measure ) Threw that sucka in the oven on 425* for about 30 minutes ( covered ) and there you have it!

BUT!

...I didn't realize how much the jalapeno was going to taint everything else. Because holy shit were the vegetables SPICY! Also, after making it, the chicken should have been on the bottom because ALL the juice from the chicken went downward and none of the chicken got jalapeno flavor. 

Yes!...I know I mixed Asian with Mexican...but this was all just thrown together, okay?!

I think I made rice or something on the side, but for an impromptu healthier dinner, it wasn't half bad.

It's better than Ramen noodles!!! LOL!



 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Baby Daddy Bullshit

Sorry for the crickets. There's only a few weeks before school starts so, in the oral surgery world, that means I don't get to breathe for about 3 weeks. Lack of energy and constantly being on the go, I haven't made time to sit and write. Which is ironic since it's so therapeutic. Anywayyyyys...

I had a few ideas for topics to write today, but since my plans were made and then cancelled due to stupid baby daddy bullshit, let's talk about that for a bit.

First and foremost, I do not understand how a parent can deny their child or children...EVER.

I started seeing a new therapist. I had my "entrance appointment" last time I saw her, where I have to give her a rundown of my background. I haven't spoken to my mom in about 17 years, as you've probably read before. When mom said dad had to fly us both ways or "we are stuck down there", that scared us--we didn't want to live in Florida anymore. So what did we do?...we didn't go. Then as pre-pubescent girls, we would be out running around the neighborhood whenever she called, spending time with kids our age and having fun...so then it became, "Why do I even bother calling? They're never around to talk." So...then the calls decreased, until they eventually stopped. 

Since when is it the responsibility of the child(ren) to maintain a relationship with their parent?!?!

To this day, I feel that our mother resents us for "choosing our dad over her" and for not continuing a relationship with her, when in all honesty it is the responsibility OF THE ADULT to continue being a parent to the KIDS!

When did shit get so messed up?!?!

Life happens, and shit gets hard--but when do your kids get to start being an option instead of an obligation?!?!?!

...they shouldn't. Ever.

Plans to go to Bingo have changed today because a certain baby daddy bailed on getting his two children. After being incarcerated for years for drugs and theft and missing out on so much of his children's lives, his excuse for not getting them?: "I don't have the gas to meet you for them". Wow.

How does a decent father go from 10 to 1 like that?! 

I feel like people have their priorities are SORTS of fucked up these days, and kids are just a commodity; left in the ruins of man-children and spiteful women to use as their own pawns for games they never agreed to play in. Mommy hates daddy, daddy hates mommy, let's use the children as a means to hurt each other and make them endure the collateral damage. Do you know what this shit causes in these children?

Lack of self-esteem.

Feelings of neglect and not being wanted.

Bad behavior.

Shyness and fear.

Lack of healthy communication skills.

Emotional anger.

Co-dependency and fear of abandonment.

Kids are smarter than you think and they pick up on things far more often than what you may assume. And if they know that daddy was planning on getting them and, all of a sudden, he's not--what do you think those children are thinking? That daddy doesn't love them or want to spend time with them.

I'm not sticking up for one sex over the other; I'm simply writing this viewpoint due to the events of today. Also, because this isn't a "once in a while" situation--there's always an excuse.

And sure, if your life went askew and things happened that you wish didn't, why do your children need to pay the price for your bad decisions? Why do they have to lose a father simply because you don't WANT to get your shit together?!

It's infuriating and disgusting. Not only does mom never get a break, bare ALL of the financial burden AND have to pick up the pieces of their little broken hearts...these kids are missing out on having the family they once knew, all because dad is selfish. 

Drugs fuck you up. Jail gets you sober. But it's your choice as to what path you're going to follow once you're out. And you can either choose to be a victim of the system and live in that pattern forever, or you can take the experience and BETTER YOURSELF to be the man you should've always been. 

Just some food for thought...