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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cherry and Spoon

A famous Minneapolis landmark and a place I take all my visitors to see is the "Cherry and the Spoon", a fountain located at the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden. You might see it when you Google 'Minneapolis'. It's kind of cute and kitschy and please come visit me and I'll take you there too!

Anyway, my mom is in town for some doctoring and so after we spent the morning of what was probably the last lovely day inside canning tomatoes we had to get out and so I took her on the same little Minneapolis tour that all my Couchsurfers get. I told her about how my sister Kelly took her husband Mike there when they were dating and it was night time and it said, "don't climb on the sculpture" but they were like "let's climb on the sculpture!" but they were across the pond from it -- only the pond looked a lot like cement because it was late late at night and it was very still. So they started to run across the cement to climb on the sculpture but never got to because they fell in the pond and it served them right.  

See? It's pretty cool. Anyway, people like to take selfies there, or photos of themselves trying to hold the spoon in a periphery shot, ala the Leaning Tower of Pisa. 

It's nerdy.

Anyway my mom and I tried to selfie it up at my insistence of course. The sun was in our eyes and the double was on our chins but so what? I love her.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Happy 48th, Mom and Dad

I don't know, I'm pretty sure I have gone on and on here about my parents and how great they are and how much I love them and how I really get a kick out of them and stuff. They are miraculously still married. Can you imagine anything lasting 48 years?

They're weird. My dad tells too many stories on repeat and my mom can't stand it. My mom likes to watch Real Housewives of Everywhere and my dad can't stand it. 

But here they are. Stuck with each other forever and neither one could live one week without the other. It's true. My mom came down to stay with Kasey after each of her babies was born and it was supposed to last "two weeks" but she was back home after like four days. Claimed Dad needed her. Even when she got lung cancer and had the most painful surgery known to man -- where they break open your ribs to remove a lobe -- and planned to recuperate at Keri's (24 hour care, cable TV, etc) she went home right away and he probably had her make him breakfast. They're attached somehow, in their bickering, like cosmically.

We found out last week that my mom has cancer again, this time in her boob and that makes the fourth time in four years between the two of them. I'll let you guess whose was whose:

Prostate 2010
Lung 2012
Uterus 2012
Breast 2014

So far, all Stage 1 operable, no further chemo or radiation needed. Today there's an MRI and we'll find out a little more, hoping this 'Stage-1-fully-operable' business holds steady. Anyway, Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

He's probably telling a story she's already heard 27 times.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I Think That's Illegal...

I just feel like they forgot to leave something behind in Kelly's apartment...

St. Paul Art Crawl.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hal-isms, Vol. 55

"My only dirty dastardly deed I ever did in my life..."

"If you could steer the conversation toward liquor I would say, 'I can hold my liquor'".

"I never bought anything. Anything I got is from Boise."

"I'm a woodsman, Dianne. I'm just tryin' to tell everybody what to do but nobody cares."

"Now, is it indecent exposure at night if you pee?"

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Favorites: I'm on a Boat!

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 when Ross and I went to Scandinavia on October 13, 2009:

So there is this thing called the "party boat". It goes from Helsinki to Stockholm and vice versa. It's a 20+ hour cruise and lots of people take this trip back and forth to visit relatives, to buy alcohol from the duty free shop, and it's also like a huge college kids' party. We took this boat twice, were on it for a total of something like 50 hours and we never saw any party. In fact, we spent a lot of time in our room. Here's a picture of it.

Here it is with the beds down:

Look how luxurious! Look how HUGE! And we had our own toilet, sink and shower! Why would anybody want to leave this room?!
But, after watching an entire season of the office, we got a little bored, and tried to pass the time:

Ross wouldn't play.

But I would!


Here's some photos from the deck:

There were eleven levels. Guess where our cabin was? Level 2. WAAAAAAAAAAY down at the bottom of the photo.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


"I ate three bowls of Trix and I thought, 'that wasn't very satisfying' and so I ate two bowls of Cheerios and then I ate four packets of fruit snacks. And a pound of yogurt. And then I took a four hour nap."

"I like to think you're nice and young and fun. But you're just decrepit."

"Like, someone could give me a week-old baby and I could raise that thing."

"You should learn how to belly dance so then when you jiggle your fat stomach it'll be sexy instead of just fat."

"Is this why you gave me these shorts?"

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Evolution of an Appendectomy, Vol. 10

I am sure that all twelve of you will be happy to know that I haven't quite finished the story of my appendectomy in June. 

I had my surgery about noon on a Friday and was released that Sunday. Beata drove me home, stocked my kitchen with a weeks' worth of soups and easily digestible foods (I think I've already explained how I have the best friends ever) and I got about the business of healing up. The hospital gave me 30 Percoset pills with instructions to take two every four hours. Now if you've ever met a Hexum, you'll know that in addition to never going to the doctor, we also aren't very good at taking any sort of medications. My mom had the same bottle of Aspirin in the cupboard for my entire childhood and it's still there today. You don't want to run out because somebody selfishly used them! You save those for emergencies only. What if somebody really needs one someday? This is why I initially refused the morphine they offered me when we rocked up to the Urgent Care in Moston, Wisconsin. I figured they should save that stuff for somebody in worse shape.

So tough, and so afraid of running out, in the days after my release from the hospital I was only taking about one Percoset every six hours. If taken as directed they would only last three days for crying out loud! I had to make them last!

Anyway, Wednesday night, I woke up and couldn't breathe because of the pain in my abdomen when I expanded my lungs. I sat up in bed and breathed shallow, short breaths and tried to relax. But I couldn't relax because I was panicking about not being able to breathe. I took a Percoset. About 45 minutes of sitting up in bed, taking eight hundred million short quick shallow breaths, the pain subsided and I fell asleep. But I slept until 9 and so that was WAY too long to go without a pain pill. The following morning I was in so much pain even my toughness didn't get me through it. I called my sister Kasey crying and she told me she was coming to take me to Urgent Care. I was in no mood to go and sit in an Urgent Care, but Kasey convinced me that's what they were for. I thought maybe if I went they would give me more Percoset. How can they cut out your guts and then expect you to go home with only 30 pills??? I don't GET IT!!

The internet the nearby clinic was open at noon. After we got there the woman told me they actually didn't open until 5pm. The Urgent Care part was only evening hours. I asked if any of the Doctors had appointments available in the clinic. No, but I could drive up to Como, they open at one o'clock. We decided to get lunch and then go to Como. After a series of incredible mishaps, we didn't get lunch and started running out of time. I wanted to get to Como at 12:30 to be first in line (the lady recommended we do that). 

So we did.

And then we waited after they took my blood for hours and hours for the results, which were normal of course, and basically the only result of the whole visit to Urgent Care was that the Doctor yelled at me for not taking my medication AS DIRECTED. I told him I didn't want to run out! He said, take it as directed and you won't need anymore after you run out. He told me to set an alarm for every four hours even when I slept, and wake up and take a pill. He said, if I wanted, I could buy a bottle of Tylenol and take one Percoset with one Tylenol. This would double the pain medication without doubling the narcotic which is what was making me feel so loopy. 

He also started looking through my records and saw that I had been prescribed Atavan. He goes, "it says here you have a fear of the unknown?" I go, "well, I guess we all do? But actually I got the prescription in 2009 because I was about to travel the world and I'm terrified of take-offs and landings on a plane. Maybe can you put fear of flying?" "Oh OK I'll update that" he said. And then he saw that I had been prescribed some medicine for the herpes on my nose. He said he was going to change that too because he didn't like how it said 'on the nose' and I didn't say this, but I kind of like how it said that because then it could set me apart from the other people who get herpes in other places. What I did say was, "Hey can you give me some more of that, I feel a little one coming on right now". And he said "Sure".

...on THE NOSE, people. THE NOSE

He sent that prescription to the Pharmacy at the clinic and after five hours, and a very crabby me because I accomplished NOTHING in this visit except to get this stupid herpes-nose pill which doesn't really work anyway, oh and learn that my white blood cell count was normal, so nothing weird was going on internally, oh and also he told me to take my Percoset more often and he gave me the tip about taking one with a Tylenol (which I liked because as a former poor kid I like to make things last by adding another thing to that thing. It's why I put rice in my chili and saltines in my mac & cheese).

We went to the Pharmacy at the clinic but they told me that the prescription was sent to the Walgreen's by my house. I was so crabby by this point, but I didn't want the whole freaking day to be a waste and I did need to get some Tylenol so I made Kasey drive me to the Walgreen's by my house. 

Kasey sat in the car while I went to the Pharmacy and asked for my prescription. After standing in line at the Pharmacy behind everyone and their crazy brother, here's a reenactment of my turn with the Pharmacist:

This guy had no idea about my appendectomy or my Percoset. All he knew was that I needed my Acyclovir. For my unspecified Herpes.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Favorites: "Uh-Oh!"

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 April 25, 2013:

I have a friend who was employed as a carpet layer. As such, he often found himself in people's homes. And being in people's homes made him observant to certain things. 

One day, a customer called to him and his coworker from inside the house to come in. As my friend entered, he noticed a wheelchair folded up behind the door. He also noticed a very conspicuous mechanical wheelchair stair lift going from the first level up to the second.

His co-worker was not so...observant. He noticed only the crutches as the homeowner hobbled to the top of the stairs to greet them.

"Uh-oh!" the co-worker sing-songed. "Someone's on crutches!"

All signs point to...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...