Monday, July 31, 2006
The clinic where I work has a special puzzle table where patients, family members, and staff can work on jigsaw puzzles. We have a shelf full of puzzles that people have donated to the clinic, and many of our patients enjoy having something to do while they are getting chemotherapy. We've done several artsy-type puzzles that we've backed and hung on the walls.
Lo, an idea was born! The Hater and I went shopping for a puzzle that we'd like to hang in our apartment. It would be cheap art tied with memories of some of my sweetest patients. We found the perfect puzzle for our future nursery.
(Of course this was all prior to the c-bomb. Our nursery plans have since been put on the virtual back-burner until we get a negative scan and my hormones are straightened out.)
It's not the best picture, but you can see the seven dwarfs walking towards the little cottage in the woods -- and at the bottom it says "Off to Home We Go". It's too sweet. How could you not fall in love with that puzzle? How perfect for a nursery!
We found this 1000 piece Disney Fine Art puzzle at Barnes and Noble up the street. We had no idea that the puzzle pieces would look mostly the same -- or that it would be so hard to put together! It took them over a month to get the edge together. Every week we would put some together, tear more apart. It was really a two steps forward, one step back ordeal.
They begged me to let them take it apart. They muttered things under their breath. They threatened me and called me names. But I held out for the nursery. I even begged my puzzle-putting friend to put it together for me if my coworkers tore it apart while I was gone. I needed the puzzle.
Ta-da. Today we finished it. It's been a long five months for them to finish the masterpiece, which now holds the "longest" table time of the many puzzles we have put together. Nary a piece is missing, which in itself is a small miracle.
We covered the back in contact paper and I carefully braved the wind to carry it out to the car. (The Hater is still being my most wonderful driver.) We'll look for a frame this weekend.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Tonight, the eve's eve of it's due date, The Hater and I have spent an hour and a half entering information into a table on Word. We finished with nine pages of table. So it's still officially completed prior to its due date, which really doesn't mean a whole lot in the real world.
The company for which I work requires its nurses to complete a total of 12 continuing education hours each year. We are to catergorize them and turn in the appropriate forms with our evaluations. This project we've been working on is the table of information about each of the things I completed to get different percentages of units to go towards my total hours.
I have completed a total of 160.5 hours, and 13.8 hours specifically towards pharmacology.
The Hater says that's way over the top and called me an over-achiever.
I told him that I'm the same over-achiever I was seven years ago when we started dating. And then I told him that the low-man on the totem pole has to do something over the top to get the merit raise. We'll see in a couple of weeks if that's enough to be noticed.
Meanwhile, I'll start a stack for next year's requirements. Stacking things is a trait I inherited from my Mother. Getting the idea to catergorize the stacks I inherited from Dad.
I'm not so sure where I learned to go over the top.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Board games. We like board games, and the following are on display, begging for attention:
- Trivial Pursuit
- Dirty Minds
- Kill Dr. Lucky
- Pipe Game
- Apples to Apples
- Hit the Deck
- Murder Mystery Dinner kit
- about ten decks of cards
- hand-held Texas Hold 'em
- hand-held Tetris (my top score is 1002 lines)
- Scrabble -- which is unopened because I can't get anybody to play it with me
I've convinced The Hater that we still have room for more games. We like games. Come play with us!
Friday, July 28, 2006
This year is different from playing football video games last year because I've been promoted. I'm the Special Teams Coordinator for his Volunteer dynasty. As of now I'm averaging a ten yard punt return, and about the same for kickoff returns. And I can kick a mean field goal.
We can hardly wait for it to be football time in Tennessee!
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Well who is in the Hater’s lounge and bar today to get an earful. Today I will be serving both Hezbollah and Israel a tall warm glass of Haterade!
Let the Hate begin!
The Scale, to remind you:
1........Kinda Mad At Them
2........WOW Super Annoying!
3.......Can It Be Any More Stupid Than This, My Mind Cries For You!
4.......Steam Rises Out Of My Ears And I Grit My Teeth When Thinking Of It!
5.......I'm Done With It, Totally Written Off Forever, No Redeming Qualities Whatsoever, Even The Borg Would Not Assimilate Them. The A-Bomb Of Anger!
The current Hezbollah and Israeli conflict
Hater scale ranking: 4.75
Reason: You know those two kids you knew way back in elementary school that really hated each other, those two kids who always got in fights, could never share, told on each other, and even formed coalitions and tried to enlist other kids to assist them in their vile acts of aggression towards each other? Israel and Hezbollah are the total manifestation of those immature kids. I’m not going to get into an argument about whether Israel has a right to exist, or Palestine, or who has committed more crimes against whom….that’s pointless and I could never cover it all. However I will say this Hezbollah and Israel are both terrorists, warlike, violent, and care nothing about the civilians caught in their little conflict.
Hezbollah kidnapped some soldiers, Israel bombed some buildings, then Hezbollah fires missiles b/c the Israeli attacks and then Israel retaliates then Hezbollah retaliates and it just goes on and on and on. This needless loss of life and the political situation in the Persian Gulf region are out of control. Its stuff like this report I heard on NPR the other day that piss me off, it went something like this….
Hezbollah says: We are defending ourselves; we attempt to only target the Israeli military. Sometimes there are unfortunate civilian causalities.
Israel: We are defending ourselves; it’s not our fault there are innocent Lebanon citizens living next door to Hezbollah terrorists we have to blow up a target when we think it is a threat. Sometimes there are unfortunate civilian causalities. (This part is in response to Israel blowing up two ambulances that were rushing injured people to the hospital in the aftermath of and Israeli missile attack).
For the love of God the whole Middle East is a power keg and these two are playing chicken running up and throwing matches in the keg! This whole Persian Gulf region could go up in flames if this does not end soon.
Both of these groups need go grow the %$&* up! They need to sit down and negotiate a cease fire immediately, but just like those kids you knew way back when their hate for each other will never die. I just don’t see and end to this any time soon….and I’m afraid the civilian causalities will just get higher and higher.
Some links to articles about the situation if you’re interested: here and here
Isreal kills UN Peacekeepers. Read about it here.
And our great leader could make it all worse. Read how here.
'Nuff said. Drink it with blood on your hands like they do
The Hater says that single fact is the reason that we have a story to tell at all.
This past Christmas The Hater was given a gift certificate for a half-hour massage from someone at work. He's the greatest husband ever, so obviously he gave the certificate to me. We were really excited and called the lady to make an appointment.
We called her early January to make an appointment. She had a few openings during weekdays, but those times weren't acceptable for our working schedules. We have this problem with banking hours and insurance office hours, too.
The first opening for an appointment on a Saturday or on an evening was in April. The masseuse said she was very popular and very busy; most people book her months in advance. So we booked the half hour massage for April, knowing that the certificate would expire in May.
Tra-la-tra-la-tra-la. We waited for the upcoming massage with much excitement and glee.
And then the c-bomb exploded our plans. The Hater called her and she agreed to move the massage to July. He received another half-hour massage certificate from the same people, which means now we have two certificates to try to schedule.
The April surgery passed. Time passed. Tra-la-tra-la-tra-la.
But wait! Another surgery to foil the plot! Today was to be the day that we scheduled the remake from the first scheduled massage, but obviously that isn't going to happen. I don't fit the "fit to be massaged" criteria because of the surgery.
So we're back where we started, now the proud owners of two certificates for 30 minute massages, one of which is expired. If we were to call today to schedule an appointment, it would probably be November before there was an opening, but that's only if someone cancels because she's booked solid until the end of the year.
The second certificate expires in August.
Meanwhile, my neck is healing nicely, albeit slightly bruised. My shoulders and back are really stiff and sore from moving around like a robot. The Hater, being the most wonderful husband in the world, rubbed my shoulders for me last night and really worked out a lot of the tension. He says he'll try to do it for me again tonight.
The moral of the story: Who needs a gift certificate for a massage when you're married to the most wonderful husband in the world?
The Hater says that his massages are not as good as the real person. He says his "are weak". However, he did not argue that he wasn't the most wonderful husband in the world. Instead he said I shouldn't be a bragger.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
If you had to click on the above link don't feel bad.
HOT OFF THE LINE
I just got off of the phone with my endocrinologist. He has received the surgical pathology reports and said that of the 20 lymph nodes that the surgeon removed, 6 were positive for microscopic spread.
The new plan will involve stopping my long-acting thyroid supplementation and converting to a short-acting hormone for one month. Then going cold turkey again for around three weeks, with the onset of our favorite Low-Iodine Diet (sticks and twigs, here I come), and another home-bound Radioactive Iodine treatment with a higher dose.
The good news is that I should have the meds straightened out and feel better for the holidays. The bad news is that, all things considered, I'd rather be consitpated than have cancer.
Monday, July 24, 2006
We've decided who we like, who we'll cast our vote to support... but we do that knowing that our track record voting for winners has been less than stellar. We found a canidate who is anti-corruption, which pretty much means he won't win (because we know both that Republicans and Democrats have corruption in common, goes The Hater's commentary). Part of me wants to go to that guy's webpage and send him an email with an apology that we're going to vote for him.
You might be thinking that we should use our cooler-vote to join the dark side, to vote for the canidates who we want to lose. And that might seem like a good idea, until The Hater reminds us about the repercussions for allowing people we don't like to hold public offices.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
I declared to The Hater tonight that I could no longer stand being in this apartment. We put on our shoes and walked to get the mail. The last cold front has made it tolerable to stand outside after the sun has set, so it was a nice walk. Nothing Olympic, but I was proud we made a full circle and he didn't have to drive around and pick me up.
Meanwhile, the tape on my neck is starting to peel and bother me. The surgeon said to wait a week before I take them off, but the real reason I'm not being more agressive in messing with it is not because he said I should wait a week -- it's because I'm afraid of turning into the Reach toothbrush mascot.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
How exciting. So exciting, in fact, that I was also able to use my own hair dryer.
And now it's time for a nap.
Mom and Dad left this morning. I'm glad they were able to come for the surgery. The came bearing the best gifts --- Sun Drop and Ricks BBQ... nectar of Heaven.
Friday, July 21, 2006
I'm tired, stiff and sore, which is par for the course. The surgery went well.
Today's milestone: I was able to roll over, by myself, to my left side. Ta-da! After my last surgery this feat took several days to master. My next trick will be sleeping on *one* pillow. I wanted to only sleep on one pillow for my nap today, but it wasn't comfortable...I'm still going to need two pillows for a while.
Baby steps, my friends. Baby steps.
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.
The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?
yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
He says this surgery won't be as hard for me as the last surgery, the thyroidectomy. He should not have to dodge parathyroid glands or major nerves due to the location of the angry node. I will be in the hospital Thursday night and will be able to go home on Friday.
Mom and Dad will be driving to OKC tomorrow and should get here tomorrow evening. They plan on staying in town until Saturday morning, if everything goes as planned. Bryan is still off of school this summer, so he'll be my very own home health nurse.
I will go back to work on the 28th. I'm very fortunate that I still have my emergency leave, so I'll be able to take those five days off of work with that time. This way I can still save my regular time off fund to go towards my next radiation treatment, which should still be sometime this winter.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers -- for Mom and Dad to have a safe trip to and from OKC; for an uneventful surgery that does not upset any major nerves; for a quick, uncomplicated recovery; for us to have the grace and peace to get through this smiling at the end. We love each of you and thank you again for your support and good vibrations.
My secret is this... at work they've pulled me from giving treatments to working for the radiology section of the clinic. I wasn't completely oriented to that area, which makes being there very frustrating. And then at the end of the day I go back to where I usually work and help them finish their paperwork... because that's what good team players do, especially those who have to keep missing work for stupid cancer stuff. (And my yearly evaluation is in August.)
Sure, that's not really a secret. But this is: I'm secretly glad that this whole thing timed itself so that I can miss having to cover for the other area... and next week I'm slated to cover for another physician's nurse, which I'm also not excited about doing. But! I'm getting out of it because of the surgery!
It's trickery... and that amuses me. However, I wouldn't recommend getting cancer to get out of frustrating work duties...
Monday, July 17, 2006
Right. Thursday. As in three days from now.
I don't know for sure exactly what type of surgery I'll have -- if they'll just go in and take the one lymph node OR if they'll do a more invasive-take-lots-of-stuff surgery. We'll find out the specifics tomorrow.
I have some extended leave I can take from work for this, but, again, it'll depend on what type of surgery I have if I can get by with being off work for just a few days versus longer than a week... so as of now we're playing it by ear. That's really all we know for now.
Meanwhile, The Hater turns 30 on Wednesday. We're not making any "old" jokes. He plans on staying in line tonight at midnight to get the new XBox NCAA Football video game (high definition). I plan on sleeping.
We'll tell you what else we've learned tomorrow.
Friday, July 14, 2006
#1: I never win these things.
#2: Maybe this time you will.
#1: (scratching) Okay, I got a 9, a J, a J, a 9, and a J. What does that mean?
#2: That's a full house! That's good!
#1: Oh! That's good?
#2: Go ahead and scrach off the dealer's hand to see if you won!
#1: He'll probably get 21. I always lose at these games.
#2: (didn't catch it)
me: (Actually, I didn't say a word. I did hit my head against the doorframe to keep from laughing at them.)
Thursday, July 13, 2006
The good news is that we don't have to worry about any large-spread cancer or multiple/more complicated surgeries. This still doesn't change my prognosis or plan -- it just means I'll have another surgery, which will probably happen in the next couple of weeks.
Ta-da! Only good news from here on out...
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
After lunch today one of my coworkers asked me when my scan had been scheduled. I told her, and she started asking me if I had to do anything special for it... to which I replied that I couldn't have anything to eat after midnight.
She looked at me with big eyes, and returned with a WHOLE LIST of things I was supposed to do (and not do) before this type of scan. I steamed and said more than a few choice ugly words.
I am convinced that my physician's office is staffed by morons. It's too easy to tell people what you want them to do BEFORE you need them to do it.
This isn't the kind of consistancy that I'm needing right now.
Monday, July 10, 2006
I had a great time visiting Angry Dissenter and his dog, Odie. They were both excellent hosts, and we really should get together again sometime soon, preferably before two more years pass.
Vegas is the same as I had remembered-- hot and crowded. I didn't play a single dollar while I was there, but The Hater has come home with more padding to his poker roll. He qualified for a WPT event, but lost due to some bad runner-runner mojo. He has more stories to tell and autographs to add to his collection.
The best news of the day is that my pre-existing insurance hassles seem to be over for now. I've gotten a letter that says they'll actually process all of the new claims that include labwork and radiation stuff that The Hater and I have been arguing with them for the last several months. Maybe they'll get these filed before we get to do it all over again.
I wish I could say I had a solid plan for the week. Tomorrow I'm working. Wednesday I'll go to work, and The Hater will pick me up before lunch to go downtown for the PET/CT scan, then return me to work to finish the day....
But after that we'll be winging it until one of the doctors' offices calls with the next set of plans. For now we're winging it by the seat of our pants. It should be an exciting week.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
On to the Drama: I saw my endocrinologist on Monday. He noticed a mass in my neck, around the same area where my cancer had been. We did an ultrasound and drew labwork. Today he called me back to tell me that my tumor marker was too high, a sign that the mass in my neck is an angry, cancerous lymph node. This was not the plan.
The New Plan: The Hater is visiting our friend, Angry Dissenter, in Nevada. I had planned to fly out tomorrow after work to join the fun. That's still our plan; The Hater and I will drive back to OKC and should return Monday early evening. I work Tuesday. Wednesday morning (July 12th) I have a PET/CT scan scheduled. This will show us if there are multiple angry lymph nodes. Those scans will have to be evaluated by a radiologist, and I don't know when that will happen. Within a couple of days I should hear back from either the endocrinologist or my surgeon. And sometime soon after that I'll have another surgery to remove the angry nodes.
The Cut and Dry: This stinks, and I'm not looking forward to doing this all over again.
Prognosis: The good news about this kind of cancer is that having positive lymph node involvement does NOT change my good pronosis. There is no question that this type of cancer is both treatable and curable, but I'm just going to need another surgery to get there... which is very frustrating for me right now.
And: And if it wasn't bad enough to be told that I still have cancer, it looks like I'll have to miss my 10 year high school reunion and trip home that we'd planned for August. And, as long as I'm complaining, I'm really bummed about a bad haircut I got over the weekend.
The Good News: My hair will grow back. The cancer, after we remove the angry lymph nodes, will not grow back. There will be another reunion.
My Plea: Sweet, wonderful friends, without your support we would not have made it this far into our adventure with the c-bomb. Please keep those smoke signals, prayers, or well-wishes headed this way. We need all the good vibrations that we can get.
My list is complete with drawing little boxes next to individual items so that I can check them off as I do them today. I have a busy day ahead of me.
The day after a holiday is always bananas at work -- because we have to fit two days worth of people into one. I'm expecting a long day there... but I finished all of the paperwork yesterday for the holiday stuff, which will free an extra nurse from behind the desk for a couple of hours.
It will need to be a well-caffeinated day.
After work I'll start on THE LIST. Calling, arranging, packing, cleaning, feeding, printing, changing, laundrying list. Tomorrow I'll leave work in the early afternoon to complete the itenerary portion of the list.
And by tomorrow night I hope to be with The Hater and Angry Dissenter, making a new list for fun and exciting weekend plans. I'll be sans web -- so be strong.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
I hate scary dreams, but scary life isn't much better.
Although I didn't have to flee from badness or swim to the mainland yesterday, I did see the doctor. This was my first real visit with him since immediately after the surgery, exactly three months ago.
He palpated a mass in the right side of my neck. I told him it was nothing new since surgery and had no complaints about it... and of course it was tender if he was going to keep mashing on it... and we did another ultrasound to take more pictures... and we drew more labwork, including another tumor marker to chance the mass being more cancer. Because it's a possibility.
I'm holding out for scar tissue from the surgery since it's been with me since then. And considering my cancer was totally encapsulated with no lymph or vascular involvement ... and considering I've already finished a round of I-131... and considering that I don't want anything to get any more complicated.
Yesterday I received what I'm hoping is the last hoop that my insurance company needs to fix the financial drama. I'll fax it today, which I hope they'll get tomorrow, and maybe process by the end of the week so that the offices will quit calling me and asking for thousands of dollars that Blue Cross Blue Shield would like to pay for me.
This morning I'm thinking seriously that it would be easier to battle badness with my stellar hand-to-hand combat skills and swim the great divide where you're always about halfway to the other side than worry about scar tissue.
It has to be scar tissue.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
I thought I'd get a haircut. I told the lady that I wanted just a little shorter version of what I had, since it'd been a few months since I'd had it cut. And then she cut the hugest chunk of hair out of the back of my head.
No, I didn't say anything. At that point saying anything wouldn't have changed a thing. I left with the worst haircut in human history. And cried.
What else is a girl to do? Call her sister in the middle of the mall and heave tears about said worst haircut in the world. We can tape it back on, she offered, it will grow back.
I thought about catching a movie, but decided I wasn't in the mood when it was my turn to get tickets...
I went grocery shopping and ended up buying the book that the movie I'd thought about seeing was based on. I came home yesterday, put up groceries, and spent the next seven consecutive hours reading said book.
It wasn't that great.
Today's not been very exciting, either. Laundry x3, more errands... I'm ready for a weekend.