We say “Never again!”
But they are empty words
More blood, and ripped, tender, young flesh
More gut wrenching images
More yellow tape
More grief and sorrow
More shatter lives
More thoughts and prayers
God forgive us
As we sacrifice our children
To the highest bidder
(This post was originally published in 2014. It’s a humorous take on a subject most folks are reluctant to discuss. For obvious reasons…
I’m reposting because it want to make sure EVERYBODY (and AGMA means EVERYBODY) over the age of 50 knows how critically important it is to get regular colonoscopies. Sooner if there is a history of colon cancer in your family.
A little over a year ago (February 2017), Hubs went in for a “regular” colonscopy (his previous ones had been clear). The GI guy removed a large polyp and it turns out there were cancer cells hiding in the polyp.
Damn cancer cells.
It was very, very early colon cancer – literally only a few cells grouped together. It wasn’t even staged. In May, the area around the poly was removed and the margins turned out to be clear.
There was much dancing and celebration at Casa AGMA the day the pathology report came back!
The survival rate for early detection of colon cancer is very high. This is a very good thing!
So this is all to say, if you’re over 50 and haven’t had a colonoscopy yet, get thyself to ye olde butt doctor NOW!)
On the way to a group run Monday, my running buddy told she was getting her first colonoscopy next Thursday. A colonoscopy virgin. Grasshopper has much to learn…
(Leave now if you don’t like TMI ‘cause this is going to be “one of those” posts!)
She complained that she couldn’t have any solid food on Wednesday; just clear liquids. She said she would be hungry. She was obsessing over how hungry she would be. “Oh honey,” I wanted to tell her, “hunger will be the least of your worries next Wednesday.”
I’ve had two colonoscopies. I think this puts me into the “experienced” category when it comes to this sort of thing. Lucky me.
Studies show that early screening for colon cancer save lives. I’m all over that. And, a colonoscopy really isn’t as bad as people say. Really. Maybe not.
I’ll give you that the prep is kind of yucky. My friend is going to be taking pills to “get ready” for the big day. I’m jealous. I was never offered a pill option.
The first doc in Ohio wrote me a prescription for something that I had to mix with water. It made 30 gallons. It seemed like it was 30 gallons. They said I had to drink it all over the course of the afternoon and evening the day before the procedure.
Initially, it tasted like a cross between Gatorade, Pediacare and lemon-lime Kool Aid. Not too bad I thought at the time. “At the time” being the key words here…
Three gallons and three hours later into the prep “protocol”, my upper GI tract started to rebel. It was getting hard to drink the stuff. It was now tasting like a cross between horse sweat and liquified, stale Easter peeps. My throat was starting to clamp shut.
‘Round about that same time, my lower GI tract started to join the party. That’s the nice way to put it. I hovered close to the water closet. Very close. I was thinking of moving in for the night.
Several hours and several more gallons of the now totally undrinkable foul witches brew later, I took a stand. Enough is enough. The gag reflex had started kick in. This is never good. And what I did manage to force down started to shoot through me like I was a goose on speed. I made the unilateral decision that I had successfully completed the prep phase.
My second doc in Missouri didn’t write me a prescription for a prep concoction. He told me to get several over the counter products at the local drug store. Said they worked just as well. And it was cheap. No 30 gallons of toe jam peep sweat. No clamped shut esophagus. It was much more civilized with basically the same squeaky clean results. Easy peasy. Kind of…
So once the prep work is done, you’re basically home free. Other than the next day they snake about 15 feet of tubing up your colon while the doc wears a miners light on his head, a hazmat suit and stares at his monitor with live video of your now clean as a whistle innards. Can I order that on NetFlix?
But the best part of the whole process is the amazing twilight sleep stuff they use to knock you out! You have no idea at all what’s happening. This is very good. And you wake up feeling like you’ve had the best sleep you’ve had in years. In a sick way, it kinda makes it all worthwhile…
So if you’re over 50 and haven’t had a colonoscopy yet, for heaven’s sake schedule one! It’s a relatively simple procedure that could save your life. Plus you end up (get it – end up?) with some pretty good stories that you can swap with other 50+ types. Good times.
But I do have one question – when did they stop calling them proctologists and start calling them gastroenterologists? Proctologist is just such a great word. It’s the stuff great jokes are made of…
Two proctologists were talking about their patients (obviously pre-HIPPA…) The first one said that he was probing one of his patient’s “nether regions” and pulled out a bouquet of flowers. In stunned amazement, the second protologist said, “Where did they come from?” The first proctologist answered, “I don’t know. There wasn’t a card attached.”
Hubs and I have been put on notice.
We went out to dinner with Son#2 who also lives in Atlanta. He is #2 strictly because he is our second son, born 18 months after Son#1. Son#2 in no way alludes to his position in our hearts and affections.
Although after last night, we may revisit that.
After some discussion about a class Hubs was taking in a seniors continuing education program at nearby university, my younger son made an announcement. I could tell that he had been thinking about this for a while and was waiting for the “perfect time” to bring it up.
Not sure he got the timing quite right.
He told us that it would be best if we found an senior living facility to move to sooner rather than later where we could get involved in “activities and arts & crafts.” He cautioned us no to wait too long. He said he didn’t want us to insist on living in our house until we got “old and bitter, and then fall on the floor and poop all over.”
Yes – those were his exact words. You can’t make this sh*t up.
No pun intended.
Hubs and I burst out laughing. It was just so unexpected and graphic. He was laughing too.
When the belly laughs subsided, he assured us that we were a “long way away from getting to the point of pooping all over.” We must be a bunch of middle schoolers…everybody started laughing again.
We moved on to other topics, which with Son#2, is always interesting. Since he was little, he’s always had strong opinions about things (translation, he was a pain in the arse a good deal of the time…) That hasn’t changed. But at least now he has the maturity and wisdom to select his words and timing, except when he’s talking about us falling down and pooping all over.
But it got AGMA thinking…
When is the right time to give up your home for an alternate living situation due to aging issues/concerns?
We may not be as far away from that as Son#2 thinks.
Hubs is afflicted with that $^#%@%*& neurological disorder. It’s robbing him of the use of his legs. We live in a 4 story townhouse.
And he has to be very careful going up and down all those steps because the weakness in his legs causes him to lose his balance easily. He almost tripped this morning.
While we may not be ready for a senior living situation quite yet, we may not be that far away from moving to one level living.
AGMA’s father believed in reactive crisis decision making. And because he was an absolute monarch in a kingdom of two, my poor, sweet step-mother had to go along with whatever he said.
After my step-mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1990, we lobbied very hard to have them move closer to us after they sold their home. They lived a 4 hour drive away with no family close by. Not really easy or convenient for us to pop by… We got a realtor involved to try to find a place that they (my father) liked in Cincinnati (where we lived at the time.)
In the end, they (my father) decided to stay where they were, 228 miles away, and rent a townhouse.
Then my father promptly had a nervous breakdown due to the stress of trying to care for my step-mother, and had to be hospitalized.
Within 3 weeks, we moved my father to Chicago with my sister to recover after his release, moved my step-mother to Cincinnati to live with us, packed up their townhouse and had movers put it in storage. And that was just the beginning of some pretty major changes/upheavals in their/our lives brought on my father’s refusal or inability to admit they needed to live nearer to family.
Needless to say, AGMA was close to a nervous breakdown after it was all said and done…
I DO NOT want to do that to my children. I truly want to recognize when it’s time to throw the cards in and give up being lady of the manor.
That will be hard.
Lady AGMA’s had a manor to rule over since we moved into our first house 40 years ago.
But part of not aging gracefully is not being a major pain in the arse to your children as you age. Just a little nagging one…
Just enough to let them know you’re still around.
AGMA has to believe that no matter what living situation we’ll find ourselves in, that I’ll continue to be a crusader for coloring outside the lines and laughing as much as possible.
And using colorful language.
And young men in spandex.
Pass the Depends!
Spring has sprung outside
Busy getting hay fever
Can not write, ah choo
Four years ago, AGMA borrowed a friend’s DVD set of Steven Speilburg/Tom Hank’s WWII HBO miniseries Band of Brothers (some 13 years after it aired.) It follows Easy Company of the US Army 101st Airbourne Division from their training in Toccoa, Georgia (right up the road from us!) to D-Day through V-E Day.
Then we saw George Clooney’s 2014 movie, Monuments Men. Based on the book of the same name, it’s the story of a group of museum directors, curators and art historians who, toward the end of WWII, were tasked by the US Government with trying to recover art treasures stolen by the Nazi’s.
We got hooked. Now I know we’re came late to the game, but Hubs and I got hooked on WWII history in Europe. And some WWI history as well.
Soon after, Hubs and I went to Belgium and France. Sound familiar?
To make a long story short, we visited a number of WWII and WWI sites on our 2014 trip. It was eye opening, heart wrenching and incredibly memorable, moving experience.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago.
Return visit to Belgium and France. Here we go…
Yeah we did!
So there you have it…the good (wine), the bad (war), the ugly (my pictures) and the ‘makes AGMA’s heart sing’ (cycling!) It was an eventful 2 weeks with a lot of ground covered, great food consumed and fabulous wines tasted.
I’m so blessed.
But AGMA’s glad I’m home and staying home for the foreseeable future. Other than the 5 days in Chicago starting tomorrow…
Yeah we are!
P.S. After I published this, WP informed me that this was my 200th post! Where’s the champagne…???
AGMA loves to travel.
But then you knew that.
Surprisingly, I’m getting a bit burned out on travel. Actually more than a bit.
AGMA’s sure it’s just a temporary condition. AGMA HOPES it’s just a temporary condition.
But seriously….six weeks after I got back from a 2 week trip to Spain/Portugal with a friend, Hubs and I left for a two week trip to Belgium & France. Two days after we got back from Belgium/France last week, we left for a wedding in Nashville.
It was a beautiful wedding by the way…
We got back on Sunday and leave next week for 5 days in Chicago to visit the grands. And their parents. Of course.
Too much travel – definitely a 1st World problem and a really good one at that. But as Hubs can attest to, when AGMA gets pooped, she gets pooped.
And I’m pooped.
Today Hubs suggested a short getaway to NOLA in June because airfares were on sale. I told him to take Son #2, who will be soon unemployed (his choice – he took ‘the package’) and available for junkets. I hope they go.
I’d actually love to have the house to myself for a few days.
So before AGMA turns into a total travel troll, for your entrainment and delight (I’m sure…), I’m sharing a few of the best pictures (not the ones of the ground, my lap, my fingers, etc…) of what I like to call our Cycles, Wars and Wines trip.
I promise it won’t be the 240 pictures that Hubs shared on Facebook. OMG….
First for the Cycles. And you know AGMA loves those young men in spandex!
Sooo…yikes…this post has gotten way longer than I had intended so I’m going to give you a breather.
And let you heave a sigh of relief that that cycling “stuff” is done. Heathens…
Just kidding. Not really.
Wars and Wine shortly…
AGMA and Hubs got back from our two week trip to Belgium and France (and a couple other places) less than 48 hours ago. And we’re leaving early tomorrow for Nashville.
I’m not even unpacked.
But that’s okay, we’re driving. I can throw all my crap into a trash bag if need be. Except my dress for the wedding we’re going to on Saturday. AGMA hates wearing dresses…
But that’s another post.
So no time for a ‘real’ post today. Just kinda checking in with everybody to say AGMA is still a force for the universe to reckon with.
I promise I’ll post a trip report next week when I’m stationary.
But I do want to share what we did on our last full day of our trip. And I promise my trip report won’t be backwards (although that is an interesting idea…)
It was a fulfillment of a promise I made last October right here on AGMA. Here’s the post, No blinking .
And you know how these things sometimes (most of the time) don’t work out when you’re planning 6 months ahead. But this time it did.
And I’m so glad it did.
We made it to Avize and to the Le Burn Severnay champagne house. And we tasted Patrick’s delicious champages. And they were wonderful.
But why yak when pictures can say it so much better?
Helen, the assistant in the tasting room, didn’t mention Patrick at all during our tasting. Until afterward when I told her about our cancelled visit in September. And then it all came pouring out…
Listening to her only confirmed the sense that I had that he was a pretty amazing guy. “He was my boss,” she said “and I am passionate about this champagne because he was so passionate about it.” (with a very cool French accent) Her tribute to him was incredibly touching.
We brought home two bottles of Le Brun Servenay. Not nearly enough.
Maybe another visit is in order??
Here’s to you Patrick, and the reminder to be passionate about life. And not to take life for granted. And to live the sh*t out of every single day!
Over the past week, AGMA has run at half marathon, helped newly naturalized citizens to register to vote, worked five corporate chair massage jobs, had one table massage client, went out to dinner with friends, attended a Bible study, had a bang trim, and marched in the Atlanta March For Your Life march (after running 6 miles in the morning before the march.)
I’m freakin’ exhausted.
And I leave on my trip in less than 12 hours and still not done packing. So why am I writing this post? Great question….
This is not normal AGMA modus operandi.
Once upon a time, I was bored. AGMA reflects upon that time fondly…
This was pre-blog, pre-running, pre-tRump, and before I transitioned over to corporate chair massage work. Post-blog and running, things were still a bit slow so I started a little eBay business. All was chugging along nicely.
Then November 8, 2016 happened.
All hell broke loose and life hasn’t been the same since.
My new interest in saving the US from the grip of a wannabe fascist, Putin loving, pussy grabbing, narcissistic, homophobic, xenophobic traitor nudged out my little eBay business.
It’s for a good cause..
AGMA knew I hadn’t sold anything for a the past few months, but I didn’t realize how bad I had neglected things until I went to put my “store” on “vacation”. To clarify, vacation is when you tell people they can still buy stuff from you, but it just won’t get shipped out until you get back.
Turns out I never turned off my vacation settings from my LAST trip in late January/early Feb.
No wonder I haven’t been selling anything.
Things will be better when we get back from our trip
Well, actually no. We leave 2 days later for an out of town wedding. After the wedding things will settle down.
Well, actually no. We are home for nine days then got to Chicago for almost a week.
Now we’re into May.
But probably not even then. Benedict Donald is still around and is even more batsh*t crazy than ever.
No wonder I’m freakin’ exhausted.
But the March For Our Lives. Ah, the March…
Organized and put on by students survivors of the Parkland mass shooting a mere 5+ weeks afterwards. Teens who are far braver than I and stronger than most. Teens who are more eloquent than I could ever hope to be. Teens who have allowed me to hope again, I mean really hope, for the future of our country.
The March was worth whatever extra energy I had to expend to be there.
I’ve seen estimates of up to 70,000 marchers in Atlanta. Not sure about the exact number but AGMA can testify that there were a sh*tload of people downtown on Saturday.
But our crowd looked minuscule compared to the “mother ship” in Washington DC. Half a million plus? And YUGE crowds in Boston and Chicago and LA and New York and Miami and, and, and….
And like the Women’s March in January of 2017, there were sister marches all over the globe.
And all orchestrated by teens who less than 6 weeks ago saw friends and teachers murdered in cold blood at their school.
If that doesn’t give you goosebumps, then I don’t know what will. I honestly have goosebumps as I write this.
The winds of change are starting to blow…do you feel it?
And AGMA plans to be available to help these amazing young people as much as I possibly can, exhausted or not.
But that’s okay…I can always pick up my eBay gig after November 10, 2020. Or after the Orange Cheeto-head goes to jail.
Which ever comes first.
Gotta go finish packing…
In my quiet moments, AGMA thinks ‘interesting’ thoughts.
We bought a new iron a few weeks ago. Actually I ordered it online. AGMA feels very millennial when I do something like this.
I unboxed the new iron and set it on the dresser beside our old iron that had given up the ghost after years of faithful service. And I wondered what kind of a conversation they might have if they could talk. Seriously.
Would the new iron taunt the old one, saying, “I’m going to make ironing great again (MIGA)!” AGMA would have to chime in, “What do you mean “again’??” Or would the new iron be the student sitting at the feet of the old Master. “Steam, Grasshopper…” I can hear the Master iron say, “She likes a lot of steam. Even when she shouldn’t be using steam. It is her way of taming the storm inside.”
The above being a compelling reason for NOT allowing AGMA to have many quiet moments.
The latest ‘interesting’ thought is about faces.
AGMA’s doesn’t know a lot about the science of genetics other than Hubs regularly asks me to spit in a test tube. Then he ships my spit off and in a week he tells me that I’m related to Gengis Kahn or a 5th cousin twice removed of somebody who was the wife of mayor of Philadelphia once.
From what I understand, there are seemingly unlimited combinations of genetic material inside chromosomes. Okay, the number is actually a little shy of 71 trillion (yes – trillion with a ‘t’.) To AGMA, this qualifies as unlimited.
This YUGE number of possible combinations is why, other than in the case of monozygotic twins, everybody is genetically unique. Kind of like the old ‘there are no two identical snowflakes’ concept.
Except in the case of monozygotic snowflakes I guess.
But AGMA believes that this unlimited genetic combination thing doesn’t hold true for faces. AGMA believes that once you’ve lived ‘X’ number of years on this earth, faces start repeating themselves. The actual number ‘X’ depend on how much you get around.
So for example, somebody who has lived all over the US/abroad and traveled extensively might reach that ‘X’ number in 40 or 50 years. But somebody who was born, lived and died in the same small town and didn’t travel much may never have reached that ‘X’ number.
AGMA believes that it’s all about the number of faces you’ve seen in your lifetime.
I had this epiphany two weeks ago at a political gathering of progressive women in Atlanta. As I walked around the crowded room, AGMA saw people that I KNOW I knew. Their faces looked so very familiar.
But I didn’t know them.
I was sure I went to high school with one woman until I realized that, if I did go to high school with her, she would be in her mid-60’s, not in her mid-40’s as she was. That’s okay though, this high school person was a mean girl.
But people definitely have doppelgangers. Even AGMA!
I’ve had a number of people tell me they knew somebody who could be my twin. I have yet to meet one of them. I’m not sure I want to. It could be shocking seeing somebody that other people think looks like me, and she looks like old, haggard and cranky.
Reality is a beotch.
Doppelganger is actually an interesting word. German in origin (hence an umlaut is sometimes used over the ‘a’) I just thought it meant a double in appearance until I did a bit of research.
According to the source of all life, knowledge and wisdom, Wikipedia, a doppelganger “is a look-alike or double of a living person, sometimes portrayed as a ghostly or paranormal phenomenon and usually seen as a harbinger of bad luck. Other traditions and stories equate a doppelgänger with an evil twin. In modern times, the term twin stranger is occasionally used. The word “doppelgänger” is often used in a more general and neutral sense to describe any person who physically or behaviorally resembles another person.”
Which begs the question, is AGMA’s doppelganger the evil twin or am I?
OMG. Something new to obsess over.
I’m pretty sure they did a Star Trek episode about something like this back in the 60’s…
Getting back to my crazy-ass idea about faces, AGMA is pleased to announce that I am getting ready to expand my inventory. Of faces that is.
Hubs and I leave next Monday for a boondoggle in Belgium and France (with brief stops in Holland, Luxemborg, Germany and Switzerland) And you know what that means…
The posts will be few and far between for a few weeks. I’ll try to get a post written to schedule to publish when I’m gone. And I might even grace you with one of the now famous infamous AGMA haikus.
In the meantime, we can all hope and pray that I don’t get too much quiet time to come up with more ‘interesting’ thoughts. Or crazy-ass ideas.
Ya’ll behave yourselves!
As much as I’d like to think it isn’t, it is. Follow that?
My body’s getting older and starting to develop some significance health issues.
Conventional logic would tell me that I need to start fading into the sunset and taking it easy while I tend to my AIP, UC, HPB and CKD.
And if you don’t know what any of those are…be glad. Sheesh.
But in my head… Ahhh…in my head AGMA is an energetic 26 year old who can do all the things I did when I was young and carefree.
Full disclosure: I was pretty dull as a 26 year old. I’d been married for 3 years, had a full time job and was going to graduate school part-time.
But, hey, I was 26! Young and strong and healthy. Sure that I knew everything about the life. AGMA had it all figured out. The world was my oyster and I was having it broiled with garlic butter. Yum.
But time and life are great teachers…
It will come as no surprise to any of my wise readers that AGMA did indeed NOT have everything figured out. The world was NOT my broiled oyster with garlic butter – it was more like a sea urchin served raw in saltwater with sand still sticking to it.
But somewhere deep down inside of me, there is a spritely spirit that still thinks AGMA is 26. A vivacious spirit that still, for some odd reason, thinks that the world is her BWGB oyster.
But a shrewd spirit that acknowledges I did NOT have everything figured out.
I still don’t.
But why let that spoil the party?
So when a co-worker was in tears on Sunday because she was behind in moving out of her apartment, totally exhausted and having horrible back pain, 26 year old ‘spirit’ AGMA (in the 64 year old body) said, “I can help you for a couple of hours!”
What I forgot was that her apartment is on the 3rd floor. With no elevator. And what I didn’t know was that her new apartment (same complex, different building) was on the 3rd floor. With no elevator.
At the end of two hours, I thought my legs were going to collapse and my arms burst into flames. It’s nearly 48 hours later and AGMA’s still sore. And tired.
What’s that old saying, “The spirit’s willing but the flesh is weak?”
But I’m really glad that 26 year old ‘spirit’ AGMA is there. She keeps me interesting. She keeps me engaged. She keeps me optimistic in the face of yucky stuff. She also probably keeps me sane.
She’s the one who pushed me to go back to school to become a massage therapist at 54. And run my first marathon at 60. And get a tattoo at 63. And play granny superhero with my grandson. And buy a backpack suitcase “just in case” I decide I want to backpack through Europe. Or Thailand. Or Mexico. She’s the one who is making me want to start skiing again after a 20 year haitius. Downhill.
But sometimes she makes AGMA really sore, achy and tired.
Still, she helps me see the world as a place of ‘the sky’s the limit’ potential through younger, enthusiastic, unjaded eyes. She encourages me to move forward when I want to stop. Or retreat.
And when I resist her suggestions, she gently reminds me that the sand is quickly running out of the AGMA hourglass; I’ll have plenty of time to rest ‘afterwards’…
Aging gracefully my ass!