— Essentials —

Mammograms and Home Remodeling

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Removing the upper glass cabinets, marble backsplash and the lower cabinets topped with marble.
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I had two of these chandeliers made for the Little House at the ranch. They
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October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. No one’s more aware of this than those who’ve already been diagnosed with breast cancer or know someone who has. It’s been 12 years since my diagnoses and treatment, but a sore place on my left breast made me think about recurrence.

Since I’m not one to look the other way and do nothing, I had my oncologist schedule a mammogram and an ultrasound of both breasts.

I’m grateful beyond words to report everything looks good. Thank you, God. Thank you! Even so, I’ll continue to be vigilant about self-exams and mammograms and so should you. When was the last time you had a mammogram?


With a huge sigh of relief, I’m continuing to remodel the home I purchased. If you watched my video tour then you know there’s a lot to be done.

This morning the painter showed up late—minus his crew—and he has no idea when, or if, he’ll see them again. There are workmen who don’t return my phone calls; don’t speak English and one who invaded my personal space and called me “sweetie.” At the other end of the spectrum, one guy’s so shy, I wonder how he managed to have three children? Then there’s the contractor who quoted me $30k to redo the master bathroom and replace three sets of French doors, and I’m buying most of the materials. Seriously? It’s not like I don’t know what’s involved.

Singlehandedly, I restored a three-story, 6,400-square-foot home. I’m the best plaster person you’ll ever meet; a meticulous painter; I work sunup to sundown—every day—and I cleanup as I go. My crowbar and sledge hammer are in storage, but if “Mr. Right” doesn’t show up soon, I’m inclined to buy new ones and do the work myself.

I’d start by tearing out a marble counter and built-in cabinets in the kitchen; replaster the walls and then slide my 130-year-old, Swedish pine cabinet into the same space. It’s just the right size to hold the crystal and china I inherited from mother, who got it from her second husband’s late, first wife… Did you follow that?

On the other hand, I’ve got enough to do without remodeling this house myself. If I can get through breast cancer, James’s death and the subsequent loss of my entire family, I can put up with a few unreliable workers. BTW, I picked a paint color!

Love, Brenda


  • cathy October 22, 2016 at 7:57 am

    So happy, sweet Brenda, that all is well with “the girls”! Thank God is right! It gets a little scary when strange pains pop up and I have experienced that too! Sent me running for my oncologist as well! You are one strong woman in more ways than one!!! Can I hire you out??? xoxo

    • 1010ParkPlace October 24, 2016 at 12:28 pm

      Cathy, You know exactly what I’m talking about. It can be scary. We’re all strong women. Sometimes we don’t know how strong until we have no choice but to live it. xoxox, Brenda

  • Ren Powell October 22, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Last year I found a lump in my breast and had a mammography and sonogram. The radiologist looked at both breasts. The lump I felt was nothing, but in the other breast he found a lump that needed a biopsy. What we don’t know can hurt us. (I was fortunate – it was benign). Every time I think, “well, we all know about breast cancer”, I realise there is much we don’t know.

    Glad you are well!

    • 1010ParkPlace October 24, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      Ren, You’re so right on both counts: What we don’t know can hurt us and there’s so much we don’t know about breast cancer. I’m relieved your biopsy proved to be benign. I understand how scary that is. Brenda

  • Janeane Davis October 22, 2016 at 8:35 am

    The title of this certainly grabbed my attention. I like your attitude and reminder to oay attention to my breasts.

    • 1010ParkPlace October 24, 2016 at 6:24 pm

      Janeane, We all need a jolt every now and then to get us out of our comfort zone and get our mammograms. Early detection does save lives. Brenda

  • Susanna October 22, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Great post and I’m so glad everything is ok. I’ve just had my routine mammogram and as usual I was in a state of panic until I got the results. Thankfully all ok. I think my panic comes from a bad experience 15 years ago when a biopsy on a lump came out with a bad result. I had the lumpectomy and turns out I was given a false positive but for a very scary week I thought the worst. It’s great to talk about it openly so thanks for posting this. xx

    • 1010ParkPlace October 24, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      Susanna, The waiting is cruel and unusual punishment. I wish they could read the mammograms and tell us something definitive the same day. If they think there’s a problem, then let’s get an ultrasound or a needle biopsy. Just TELL US! It’s frightening enough… Brenda

  • Diane October 22, 2016 at 10:06 am

    You are my hero, Brenda! A wrenching move from rural to urban AND a few heart-stopping moments of Cancer scare (nothing can strike terror like that word, as you know!) Get out that crow bar! Some therapeutic ripping and tearing is in order!

    • KeriMae October 24, 2016 at 10:16 am

      Here, here!

    • 1010ParkPlace October 24, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      LOL! Therapeutic ripping and tearing! You’re a hoot, Diane! xoxox

  • Alana October 22, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    I have mammograms every year without fail. In addition, twice, my gyn found lumps on exam and, within a day, I was having diagnostic mammograms and ultrasounds. Thankfully, they’ve all been false alarms but the scare is enough. My mother in law and good friend are both breast cancer survivors. We women are strong, and I wish you continued success with your remodeling trials and tribulations.

    • 1010ParkPlace October 24, 2016 at 6:30 pm

      It’s impossible to get through life without at least a dozen “scare the shit” out of you experiences! Thinking you might have breast cancer is at the top of the list. Thank God yours have been benign. Keep getting those mammograms, Alana.

  • Beth Djalali October 23, 2016 at 8:23 am

    thank goodness all is well with your health!
    as for your contractors? no matter what part of the world i have lived in i can always count on an unreliable contractor. it’s in their dna!
    good luck.
    xoxo beth

    • 1010ParkPlace October 24, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      I think “unreliable” is in their job description. I’m just going to whisper this… think the painters I have are a good crew… not going to hold my breath though. xoxox

  • Beckye October 23, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Grateful you took action and even more grateful all was clear! Praise the Lord! Can’t wait to see your updates, and hope you find a great contractor soon!

    • 1010ParkPlace October 24, 2016 at 6:33 pm

      Beckye, Happy to see you here! Praise the Lord, indeed. I am so very grateful. God is so good to me. xoxox, Brenda

  • Jen Lawrence October 23, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Glad you are OK in terms of you health. On the home front, you are a rock star. We are renovating and luckily our guy is good and reasonable. I’m like you: if they are no good, I’d rather do it myself! xoxo

    • 1010ParkPlace October 24, 2016 at 6:35 pm

      Rock star… LOL! We’ll both have enough songs for an album. xoxo, Brenda

  • Kimba October 23, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    LOVE that description of your Swedish pine cabinet – I SO know there is a bigger story there!

  • 1010ParkPlace October 24, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Kimba, You must be psychic! There is a story. Perhaps I should write a post about it. Wouldn’t have thought about it if it hadn’t been for your comment, but it was an important turning point in my healing after James died. I’ll work on it. Thank you!

  • Esther Zimmer October 26, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Dearest Brenda, I’m so relieved to read that you got the all clear. What a relief! And I’m pleased to read that the decorating is progressing, I’d love to read the story behind that stunning Swedish cabinet?! Much love, Essie xxxx

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