Friday, October 31, 2014

Genetics - Part 2 "Big Heads"

In order to find out if you have BRCA or any of the other 21 genes that will predispose you for breast cancer, they have to take your blood, but they also interview you for a long time about your family history and stuff. My mom, my dad, Kelly and I sat around a table while my mom answered a hundred questions. 

The Geneticist had this neato plastic template with squares and circles cut out of it and when my mom said she had one sister and five brothers, the Geneticist drew five squares and two circles in a row. She asked if any of those people were deceased and then asked how they died. She drew a line through the dead people and my mom talked about aunts, uncles, cousins, her own children, etc until the Geneticist had made this really awesome intricate "family tree" filled with circles and squares and stuff crossed out. 

Then she said, "this is very weird, but please trust me. I have a good reason, I promise. I need to measure your head."


Apparently, one of the 21 genes related to breast cancer causes "big heads". I was like, UH OH because we have always laughed about the gigantic heads in our family. Kelly can never find a hat that fits and all of the grandkids -- let's just say Skete had to get cut out after Kim tried valiantly for four days trying to push him out. 

Remember this Hal-ism?:
"At work they called me Black and Decker.  Powerhead.  And it wasn't because of my big head -- it was because of how my head acts."
Anyway, they measured my mom's head at 56.5 centimeters. "Big" is 57. Phew! 

The geneticist left the room to go and make copies or whatever and Kelly and I JUMPED across the table to grab the measuring tape.

DAD: 58 centimeters. Big. 
KELLY: 57 centimeters on the nuts. Big.
ME: 74 centimeters. (My dad draped the tape down around my shoulders for this measurement.)

I encourage you to stop what you're doing and measure your head. As it turns out, having a big head is pretty humbling.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Genetics - Part 1

Part of your mom having breast cancer is learning all about genetics and BRCA1 and BRCA2. Apparently there are 21 genes that can predispose you to breast and ovarian cancer, and these are two of them. If you have this BRCA gene, you're 80% likely to get breast or ovarian cancer and so some women opt to have double mastectomies even before they are diagnosed with cancer. Get rid of the problem.

The gene is rare, but Geneticists test women for it when:

  • they have lots of breast cancer in their family
  • they get diagnosed very young
  • they get more than one form of cancer in short order.

My mom's mom and aunt both got breast cancer in their 60's, which wasn't in and of itself a huge risk factor. But she has had lung, uterine and now breast cancer all in the span of about two years. So her oncologist strongly recommended that she have a genetics test. My mom couldn't care less about this, she figures she's 65 years old, what does she care? Get a lumpectomy and drive back up to Lake of the Woods County, where there isn't even one stoplight. But the five of us girls are like, "um, excuse me? We'd sort of like to know..." since if she has it, we have a 50% chance of having it. But it's a blood draw and takes three weeks to find out the answer. And she can't have her surgery scheduled until she gets the results. So, she relented and got the test, but now she's irritated about the wait and just wants to cut her cancer out of her body YESTERDAY.

To be honest, the prospect of being tested positive for the BRCA gene would not necessarily be a bad thing for me. Yes, I'd probably have to get a double mastectomy and that would royally suck, but I'm mostly interested in the idea of having the same gene as my best friend Angelina Jolie. How glamorous! We already have so much in common!

Here I am, frantically working away on the veil just before her ceremony.

*All kidding aside, Mrs. Jolie has done a lot to raise awareness about BRCA. In fact at the oncologist's office they referred to BRCA as the "Angelina Jolie" gene, which goes to show you the positive impact her letter to the NY Times has had.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Shash-age Links

These are so fantastic. Famous portraits recreated with John Malkovich as the model. Just brilliant.

OMG Gross. And weird.

But not as gross and weird as this!

Yah. DUH. I've been TRYING to tell ya.

Oh, The Onion. This one had me LOLing. And this one! HAHA!

Oops. Nice one, Walmart.

If you're wondering about my mom's boob.

Looking forward to seeing this movie, in which Bill Murray sings Bob Dylan.

My mom taught us kids how to fold fitted sheets the right way -- I'm surprised how many people don't know!! Watch this simple video! And skip to the the good stuff because you're impatient like me!

HAHA! I try to convince all of my nieces and nephews to inflate their logs just a little. Some fell for it and some didn't.


Monday, October 27, 2014

The Nicest Thing I Ever Had

I have the greatest and most beautiful and sweet and brilliantly talented friends. Ever. 

One is named Heather and she works in Product Development at J.W. Hulme Co, a 105-year-old Minnesota company, a real MADE IN THE USA kind of place. Production is right here in St. Paul, Minnesota. Check out their story. She and her husband moved about three-and-a-half hours away last year to take care of some family obligations, but she kept her job and has stayed with me in my apartment from time-to-time to ease the commute. I charged her eggs. Yep, eggs. Up north she's got a little farm, and would bring me fresh farm eggs from her pet fresh they sometimes still had chicken poop on them. 

Anyway, she's so amazing and I'm always bragging to anybody who will listen about all the bags she makes for J.W. Hulme. Look! She even appeared in some Korean magazine sewing away!

That's Heather!
That's Heather too! Modeling for the company's facebook page - on the right my other friend Kerrie who also works there! Remember when Kerrie made me my passport cover?!!?!?!
Here she is hard at work. Anybody recognize that shirt?


Her last day was on Friday and so she won't be needing to stay at my place anymore which was pretty sad and I'm going to miss her so much, so we decided to go out for dinner and drinks and OMG YOU GUYS LOOK AT WHAT SHE MADE FOR ME:

The Mini Excursion, in custom colors:

Look at the lining! I LOVE IT. It's tiny little 110 cameras on the most beautiful retro-inspired fabric!



I'm so happy and proud!

You guys can all go home to your kids and your soul-mate-life-partners and your grand-kids and your pets and hold them all you want. Because I'll be holding onto my new bag. I'm going to marry it, and when I die you can throw my ashes inside because we will never ever be apart not ever, ever, ever.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Photo Shoot - Starring ME!

Last summer, my ol' pal Brent asked me to participate in a photography project. 

I really can't believe I haven't yet linked to his post about it, since it's all about my favorite subject (ME ME ME). Well, here you go. Original link here at his blog, The Speckled Record. He writes about lots of things, including his previous work for the Peace Corps and currently at the American Refugee Commission...and that one time when he made me hold hands with a bunch of strangers on a whim:

Kady with Others 060713 7
If you have a friend who you know loves meeting new people, a ‘yes’ person, a friend who will disregard decorum for a good story, and if this friend is meeting you for a Thursday afternoon happy hour, then I suggest you scrap your bar chatting plans for something else entirely.
My friend, Kady Hexum, is easily one of the most outgoing people on the planet. And earlier this summer I suggested that we change our happy hour plans and meet near a park. There we would introduce ourselves to strangers so that I could take pictures of her holding hands with them. What you are looking at now are the results.
Kady Hexum with Others 060713 110
It isn’t actually too hard to ask people to hold hands with your friend. It helps that Kady is beautiful, kind, and can make almost anyone laugh (see first photo). Most people were totally down. We asked around 20 folks, and only one person said no. I mean, I think he said no.  He slurred something in a fake accent, gave us the crazy eyes, and speed-walked away. (Note: this is an excellent way to get rid of people on the street.)
Most people smiled, mentioned something about their artist family member, and asked me where to stand.
Kady Hexum with Others 060713 96
You really ought to check out Kady’s blog. She’s hysterical. The perfect kind of friend to drag along into perfectly uncomfortable afternoons.
Kady Hexum with Others 060713 38
Kady Hexum with Others 060713 62
Kady Hexum with Others 060713 104
Kady Hexum with Others 060713 122
Kady Hexum with Others 060713 137
Kady Hexum with Others 060713 145

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Favorites: Working Out With the Intern

New to A Lady Reveals Nothing? You've missed SO MUCH. Not to worry. Every Sunday, I dig through the archives to repost an old favorite. Mostly because I'm too lazy to come up with new content every single day. Enjoy! This story originally appeared on December 18, 2009:

I don't really like to work out alone. I don't want to walk ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE PARKING LOT to my Lifetime Fitness and so when my regular work-out buddy Felicia couldn't make it to the gym today I was a little depressed because I knew that meant I wouldn't go either. But I'm fat right now and I'm going to Mexico in about a month, so I casually asked the hot young 23-year-old college graduate intern that I have been sexually harassing for the past 6 months if he had a membership to Lifetime, knowing full well that he did. "I'm going at 3pm," he said, and so of course I told him I was going with him. I also told him I'm a social exerciser and need somebody to at least walk over to Lifetime with me. I agreed to work out on the treadmills. 

We walked over and when I got out of the changing room, he was already running, with a quarter-of-a-mile on the display at a pace of 8 mph. I walked for about 5 minutes and then casually sped up my machine until we were stomping, right. left. right. left. at the same pace. Depressingly I realized that my machine was only at 5.6 mph to his 8. These darn short legs! We ran "together" for about a half mile on my machine and then he left to go 'lift'. Lift. Doesn't that sound amazing and gorgeous? I saw that he had run 1.38 miles on his machine. In his absence, I ended up run/walking because it's been a while since I have run, and so I was glad when he came back by for a drink of water, I was on my short little run section of the run/walk. 

"You really picked up the pace!", (6 mph) he mentioned and then walked toward the water fountain. Thank you for noticing...and thank goodness he hadn't come by 10 seconds earlier, as I was on the 2.8 mph walk that lasted about 8 minutes. When I finally reached 2 miles (30 minutes), he asked if I wanted to do an Ab Set. 

"YES PLEASE", I answered, not really knowing what that was, but it sounded romantic. And it was. Until we did side planks, me facing the wall and him facing my clenched, shaking butt. Wonder if he'll want to work out tomorrow?

"I think he likes me!"

*photo credit:

Friday, October 17, 2014

Hospital Humor

My mom is having a million appointments this week to try and figure out the extent of her cancer and how to proceed. Today there's a pet scan and a biopsy and a meeting with a geneticist. She might have the same breast cancer gene as Angelina Jolie! And maybe so do all us girls!

Anyway, she's being treated at the Piper Breast Center at Abbott Northwestern, which is like the best best best hospital in my opinion and conveniently located only about two miles from my house. 

Today she was taken back for her biopsy from the front waiting area to the back waiting area and the nurse said that I could go with her but not my dad. 

I go, "it's OK. He's seen her boobs before."

Updating Myself on World News

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