Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Fun Stuff...

....not really.

I got one of those follow up phone calls to schedule a doctor's app't after having a mammogram recently. After years of normal mammograms it was a bit of a shock though I know I shouldn't worry as it's likely nothing but still I worry.... after all, I AM my mother's daughter!

Recently I signed up for "My Pocket Health" which provides me with unlimited access to my medical imaging records online and goes back years and years. After a one time $5.00 fee I can actually look at and print any x-ray, MRI, ultrasound and mammogram (plus accompanying remarks, diagnosis and recommendations) I've ever had! What a great service! So I went online and had a look at my last mammogram. There are two issues: abnormal breast density (which is common) and focal asymmetry (which is also common).  With abnormally high density, which shows up on the scan as white, it can prevent masses from being seen as they also show up white. White on white - who thought that was a good idea?

And the focal asymmetry could mean there is a mass but it can't be seen in a regular x-ray so I'll likely have to have an ultrasound or MRI after consulting with my doctor. What this all boils down to is there could be small lumps lurking around waiting to pounce that can't be seen. 

Do I feel better knowing? YES! I'm one of those people who'd rather know than NOT know. I feel quite sure that after more imaging I'll be told there's nothing to worry about. I might have to have more frequent mammograms and I can live (literally) with that. Right now I don't feel any foreign masses invading my body - gotta stay positive!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Staffa

Getting to Staffa required a 20 minutes train ride from Taynuilt, where we were staying, a ferry to the Isle of Mull, a coach which took us from 
one end of Mull to the other, a small boat which took us out into the Little Minch where
we were able to see the Isle of Skye where we'd been a few days prior, and a number of other
little islands, some inhabited, some not. Returning from Staff we went to Iona, another island
which has been a Christian pilgrimage destination for around 1500 years. 
Then a ferry over to Mull, a coach back to the other side of Mull, another ferry to Oban, and a train to where we were staying in Taynuilt! 
Phew! 
We felt extremely lucky that we were able to do this island tour because for a couple of 
days it was too windy and the water too rough. 
And...as McVal told me after we returned to Canada Oban was flooded!
The Tesco where we had bought some scotch was under water.
Devastating!
So, we were fortunate to have missed the worst of the weather.
Here are a few amazing photos of the Isle of Staffa which is made up of thousands of basalt columns formed by intense pressure during the last ice age, and also
hot lava comes into it too along with other scientific/geological forces.
To learn more the Wikipedia link is below.

I'm no scientist!


Fingal's Cave  
Next time I go (heehee) I'll plan for August as we missed the puffins -
they leave the island to migrate at the end of August.


Looking deep into the cave.

It's hard to believe this is a natural phenomenon and
not man made. My brother was wearing a red coat but I
don't think that's him - I think he was wearing black pants.
Though in one selfie I took of myself he's in the background taking a photo!!


Natural seating area for people of all sizes!

There was a staircase providing access to the top of the wee island so I climbed
up and got some photos of cormorants, a common sea bird.

Looks like stacks of lumber.


Arriving on Staffa people start snapping right away!

Crazy beautiful! 

You can see other islands in the background.
The guy waving is afraid he is going to be stranded - talk about isolated!

They didn't forget about us :)

My feet to show you how large the basalt columns were; and the most common shape
is the hexagon. Now there's science AND math! 

The cave is like a gothic cathedral.

There are more caves than what I'm showing but we could
only access two of them - no doubt for conservations reasons.

They're like optical illusions!


Hard to tell what's up and what's down.

Spectacular!

The stairs to the top!

There are several channels that the water crashes through.
 I really would like to return, not just to Staffa but the Isle of Skye, my favourite spot
 and a number of other places we didn't have time for. 
I would drive on Skye as it has a small population and few cars but I would NOT
drive on the busy roads again trying to navigate the roundabouts.
No thank you.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Pittsburgh


Am I Jewish?   No.
Do I know any Jewish people?  Not sure - I don't measure the worth of a person by their religion.
Do I care that 11 people were killed, 6 injured while they practised their faith 
in Pittsburgh last Saturday?

Hell, yes!
And apparently so do many more Londoners as they packed
the Jewish Centre last night, filled an overflow room to capacity 
and jammed the foyer to show their support
for victims of yet another hate crime.
It was wonderful and horrible at the same time. 
As community and religious leaders spoke to the many
benefits of coming together as a strong brother and sisterhood in our fair city
I counted the large police presence in a state of shock!
A detachment of Ontario Provincial Police volunteered their
unpaid time to monitor the event.
Wonderful of them to stand up and make all of us feel secure; 
horrible that they had to.
It didn't occur to me to be afraid.
And then I thought...what must it do to a person's psyche to always
have to feel afraid? Always. Everyday.
One speaker spoke to the fact that many Jewish people are now
hiding their faith out of fear. I tried to imagine
feeling like I had to hide that I am of the Anglican faith. I couldn't
imagine it. I tried to imagine lying about where I am from
Again, I couldn't do it. 
I don't live in fear of anything. 
Lucky me.
I read this morning that the murderer who has been charged
with killing and injuring the innocents has pleaded
Not Guilty.
I understand insanity can be used in support of a Not Guilty plea.
But HATE?
Racism? Anti-Semitism? Bigotry in its many forms?
I don't think so!
Finally, I just want to say to my American friends and family that last night,
for the first time, I sang the American national anthem
with tears in my eyes.