Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dear Coach Fulmer,

Dear Phil,

Please don't disappoint us again. We wrote you a letter this time last year, and I don't think you took it to heart. Please carefully consider our pleas.

Last season was not an unfortunate nightmare; it was reality. The members of the coaching staff who were "responsible" for our horrible offensive play last year have been fired. We have Cutcliff now, who we know is a great Offensive Coordinator from the past. This means there will be no more excuses for you.

Don't freak out. We're not expecting a perfect season. In fact, we would be happy with a three-loss season and will tolerate a four-loss season. It's only fair for you to know that anything worse than this will be simply unacceptable. If we have coaching leadership failures this year, we'll have no one to blame but the captain responsible for his ship.

That would be you, Phil.

We love the team. They're our Vols. We're their biggest fans in Uglyhoma. It's you whose leadership we doubt.

We want to wish good luck to the team, the school, and especially you this season. We won't start calling for your head unless we reach the five-loss plateau.

Sincerely and Best Wishes for an Awesome Season,
(and thanks for giving us something else to talk about besides Sooner football)
The Hater and genderist

PS: The Hater's coaching advice for the Cal game this weekend: Their RB is really good. Have a LB spy him the whole game. THE WHOLE GAME.

PPS: genderist wants a post script, too: Is there any way we can get Peyton back? How about Jamal Lewis? Please just don't make me mad at you again; that's all I'm asking.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I've decided.

When I take radiation in September, I'm definitely asking for the metachlorine blend. I think I'd be a great Jedi. The Hater agrees, and it's not even because I did the hand-wave on him, either.

Maybe it'll come with a lightsaber this time. Like my PET scan came with a pink baseball cap with a nerdy electron on it. Except this time I'd get a light saber, and I'm not even picky as to what color it glows.

Monday, August 28, 2006

cop drama 101

The Hater and I have been talking about the lessons that can be learned from cop and lawyer shows on primetime. Following are some of the more important points we've gleaned from watching other people sweat.

1. You're going to need a warrant for that. If you have ANYTHING to hide, don't let the man come in without a warrant. Watch two episodes of Law and Order if you don't believe us.

2. Don't talk. If you're taken downtown for questioning, keep your mouth shut. Ask for a lawyer, even if they threaten to arrest you. Watch one episode of The Closer if you think your tongue and finess will save you.

3. Wear gloves. Don't be stupid and leave behind fingerprints. Watch some of the reruns of the OJ trial to remind you the importance of this one.

4. Toss the sweater. Burn the bloody clothes. It doesn't matter if it's your favorite sweater; it's time to move on. Watch the first couple of episodes of Twin Peaks if you don't believe us.

5. Always have a back-up plan. If you get caught red-handed, have your favorite psychological disorder memorized. This website might be helpful to you.

6. Forget #2. If you're crime involves an accomplice, roll over your partner ONLY for full immunity. See The Closer, LA Law, Law and Order, CSI,Bones.

7. Don't skimp. Hire the best lawyer you can afford; it'll be worth the money. See reruns of the OJ trial or the musical Chicago for such suggestions. Be prepared to bury the truth deep within yourself.

8. Be good. If at all possible try to avoid breaking the law in the first place. Watch some Mr. Rogers reruns to reinforce good citizenship.

(Unless it's the laws of capitalism, which should be destroyed, says The Hater.)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

the beginning, again

Tomorrow I will stop taking all thyroid supplementation and start the low Iodine diet (LID) in preparation for my radioactive Iodine treatment mid-September. You may remember a few months ago when I did all of this the first time. The good news is that my wonderful aunt has mailed me a new cookbook; the bad news is that my doctor has me on a more conservative LID than the cookbook outlines, which means the more tasty recipies are still off of limits.
Let the games begin!
Today I started making this nut mix. If you remember the last time I made a sweet nut mix... and I ate so much of it that the idea of it now turns my stomach. I'm hoping this version gets me through the next three weeks. Although I think the cayenne burned my eyes when it was in the oven.

I baked a loaf of bread, too. There was a bread machine involved, so don't think that I'm Nana's true culinary protegee. I'm just proud that there's bread I can eat on this diet.

Next I made some no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies, which I'm hoping will be better than the brownies I made the last lap through this diet. They were drier than I thought they'd be, and I ended up having to put some applesauce in the batter, too, because it was too dry for the oatmeal to stick. They didn't taste as good as I hoped they would, but when it's the only chocolate choice to be had, somehow you grin and bear it.

My last adventure in the kitchen was to make some mini meatloaves because they were the crowning glory to the diet last time, and they reheat well. It uses salt-free ketchup, and there's one place in town that carries it. We bought some when we went on our major grocery trip yesterday. I was getting my ingredients together before I actually started to mash up the beef, and then I realized that we did not buy salt-free ketchup. I went back to the store, but they don't carry the salt-free version anymore. Drama. I returned home to make my first batch of homemade ketchup, which turned out much better than I thought it would. After I finished the ketchup, the rest of the meatloaves fell into place.

I'll either have oatmeal or some kind of banana smoothie tomorrow for breakfast. Lunch is packed. Supper will take care of itself. And then we'll just have twenty more days to go.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

rasin' the roof

I've been visitng with good friends, and have nothing other than to say that it's good times to visit with the best of people. And good stories. Three cheers for good stories.

Sometimes three sentences says it all. Four if you counted that one, etc.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


The Hater is about to declare war on Microsoft. He says he's tired of fixing sick windows-operating-system-things. He's even adding the word "Macintosh" into his everyday conversations; I think it's a trick to get me used to hearing it.

A couple of weeks ago he had to wipeout* and reload the laptop. Its windows were dusty and sick. And now the desktop is acting funny... and he's threatening an all-out war. He spent multiple days fixing the problems. It's fixed now, so why can't we just fix the desktop, too?

You have to know this desktop is about seven years old. He bought it at Wal Mart for $450. The processor speed is 433. He's added 512 megabytes of memory, which is the only thing that's kept it running. It doesn't have any USB ports, but we do have adapters so that the USB things will work in the Serial ports. It's so old it has a 4" hard disk drive (that's right, a floppy drive, which was a main selling feature at the time). The hard drive is a whopping 18 g; most everything today has at least 40-60. It burns CDs at 4x speed (which means if you want to burn a cd with 10 songs, it will take the computer 30 minutes to finish). It's been moved 6 times and has aided in an infathomable number of papers (that's the best I can do; he won't even fancy a guess at how much he's used it). In short, it's an old friend.

He says he wants it to be fixable so we can continue to be a happy family, and I'm holding out that it can hang on another seven years. After all, it'll be my best friend again when I'm stuck in prison again next month.v

* "wipeout" is a random debate argument where people argue that humans will eventually lead to the downfall of the universe due to artifical intelligence, making aliens mad, time travel, nanotech, etc. It links to extinction. I was going to make a big nerdy parallel about how the slow death of the desktop is like wipeout, and it sounded great in my head, but the execution just didn't make it. I can't come up with a suitable link because the desktop is just too old and frumpy for an exciting sci-fi story. But it was a great idea, and so I mention it here, which makes me only slightly nerdy instead of super nerdy.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

HBDTY haiku

Yesterday* this blog turned a year old, and the world hasn't been the same.

How time flies when we're having fun.
This morning I surprised The Hater with sweet rolls for breakfast. We're really going high hog this week since we have to eat sticks and twigs next week. The rolls were great, perfectly sweet and gooey. It was nice for a change.

It's not exactly birthday cake, but in hindsight it might as well have been. Thanks to all of you for reading! Without you, this wouldn't be nearly as fun.

* Okay, so technically yesterday was the birthday. But I forgot to post this yesterday, so we'll celebrate a very merry un-birthday today in true Wonderland fashion. It's tea time.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

the artist within

If you have a couple of minutes to kill, this site will ultimately drag the little artist inside of you out kicking and screaming. (Click your mouse to change colors.) I thought it was fun.

Meanwhile, this is the thing I pieced out of the lids of lots of different IV medications. I'm going to take it to to work today to put up somewhere in the treatment room.

This is what I like to call "the slightly dangerous (where is the fire extinguisher) melty oven project". One of our friends is going to claim it when he gets an apartment next month. He likes it because he's a Notre Dame fan and there's green and yellow on top; he's got nothing else for his walls, and it's bound to be a conversation starter.

Monday, August 21, 2006

book it

There are lots of programs that try to get kids to read. In kindergarten we watched the Letter People. I didn't like to pay attention to that part of class because I knew that when it was over I had to take a nap, and I didn't much like that. So Brent Adair and I would talk until the teacher yelled at us, which was often... I only have vague memories of Pizza Hut's Book-It program as a kid. It was something about if you read a certain number of books, you would get a free pizza? I would probably remember if I liked their pizza, but grease isn't a good motivator for me... I do remember the Accelerated Reader program, where books on different grade levels had different point values; you would take a computer test after reading a book, and the points could be tallied for prizes....

There's really not a better reading program
than a literate home.

One book that changed my life: Tip written by Paul McGee, M. Lucille Harrison, Annie McCowen, and Elizabeth Lehr (published by Houghton Mifflin Company, copyright 1949) with special notes to two other great books, Tip and Mitten and Tip and the Big Show.

(page one) Tip!
(page two) Tip! Tip!

This is where it all began for me. Between index cards labeling everything in the kitchen and the Tip books, Sister and I were bound to learn how to read before we were in preschool, thanks to a literate home supervised by two talented educators.

(I hated the word lists in the back of the books, but if I could read through all of them without missing a word, Dad would give me a dime, which was big, shiny money at the time.)

One book I've read more than once: Child of God written by Cormac McCarthy.

To watch these things issuing from the otherwise mute pastoral morning is a man at the barn door. He is small, unclean, unshaven. He moves in the dry chaff among the dust and slats of sunlight with a constrained truculence. Saxon and Celtic bloods. A child of God much like yourself perhaps.
This book was required reading for one of my lit classes in college. (Southern Lit?) I was so taken by McCarthy's writing style and ability to tell a story that I found myself arguing in favor of finishing the book in class. There were two of us who argued for finishing it; the other twenty-five argued that it was a dirty book and refused to finish it. I've probably read it a dozen times since then. I'll still argue in its favor as a piece of literature, and I'll still argue until I'm blue in the face that people don't like Lester Ballard because there's a little of an ignorant, dirty Lester in all of us, and we've been raised in a society to feel guilty for empathizing with the dirty children of God.

One book I would want on a desert island: The Giver written by Lois Lowry.

"Jonas," she said, speaking not to him alone but to the entire community of which he was a part, "you will be trained to be our next Receiver of Memory. We thank you for your childhood."
Then she turned and left the stage, left him there alone, standing and facing the crowd, which began spontaneously the collective murmur of his name.
"Jonas." It was a whisper at first: hushed, barely audible. "Jonas. Jonas."
Then louder, faster. "JONAS. JONAS. JONAS."
With the chant, Jonas knew, the community was giving him life, the way they had given it to the newchild Caleb. His heart swelled with gratitude and pride.
But at the same time he was filled with fear. He did not know what his selection meant. He did not know what he was to become.
Or what would become of him.
I'm actually cheating because this is another of my favorite must re-reads, and have no idea how many times I've actually read it. It's definitely one of my most favorites. The copy I have was from Mom's classroom, and is still marked on the inside cover (that's been reinforced with contact paper and clear book tape) with her name, the grade level of the book, and how many accelerated reader points it is worth.

This would be the most perfect book for a deserted island because it's such a positive, good story. It's got enough imagination to keep you going until the Coast Guard finds you.

One book that made me laugh: The Stupids Step Out written by Harry G. Allard.

One day Stanley Q. Stupid had an idea.
This was unusual.

"Calling all Stupids!" Stanley shouted.
Mrs. Stupid, Buster Stupid, Petunia Stupid, and the Stupids' wonderful dog Kitty all crawled out from under the rug.
"The Stupids are stepping out today," said Stanley.
The Stupids were delighted.
Oh dear, sweet Stupid family. There were a whole set of the Stupid books at the county library, and if we were really lucky they would be in when Mom would take us. The illustrating (James Marshall) is as stupid as the Stupids' exploits, which made the books fun.

They still make me laugh, as do my own family's exploits. When one of us makes an incredibly goofy mistake, we've been known to start the story with "the Stupids stepped out", followed by whatever new misadventure became of the day. You know it's a good book when, twenty years later, you can still reference it during normal conversation.

One book that made me cry: Walking Taylor Home written by Brian Schrauger.

Early Monday morning on August 2nd, 1999, our family was at Vanderbilt's OR for kids. The time had come to cut away part of Taylor's lung. Taylor was excited.
When his surgeon Dr. John Pietsch (pronounced "peach") came in and asked. "How are you this morning, Taylor?" Taylore never missed a beat.
"Just peachy," he replied, laughter in his eyes. Pietsch's eyes laughed back.

Taylor was two weeks from turning ten years old when he was diagnosed with cancer. His dad, Brian, tells this story about their journey through the c-bomb as a family, and how it impacted their faith in God and each other. I was introduced to this book while in nursing school at MTSU; Brian spoke with my class, thanking us for entering the nursing profession, and told Taylor's story. I knew I had to have the book.

If you look at it as only a book about a kid who dies of cancer, sure, that will be a downer. But this book is much more than that -- it's a journey of hope, anger, joy, and life. It's a great story. The first time I read it I was flying to OKC to visit The Hater*, and I boo-hoo'd in the airport, on the airplane, during the layover, as I read the book. And when people half-glanced my direction, I just pointed to the book. I fortunately finished reading it before landing in OKC, but The Hater did question my bloodshot eyes.

One book I wish had been written: Accessing Your Personal Jump Drive: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Downloading Infinite Information Quickly, Painlessly, and Without Study

Step One: Assume the position.

I wished for this book every night when I was in nursing school. I figured if the Idiot company could tell you everything you wanted to know about Freemasonry or Pirates, they could at least take on a Neo-esque project, too.

One book I am currently reading: Me Talk Pretty One Day written by David Sedaris

By the time we entered our teens, we were exhausted. No longer interested in the water, we joined our mother on the beach blanket and decidated ourselves to the higher art of tanning. Under her guidance, we learned which lotions to start off with, and what worked best for various weather conditions and times of day. She taught us that the combination of false confidence and Hawiian Tropic could result in a painful and unsightly burn, certain to subtract valuable points when, on the final night of vacation, contestants gathered for the annual Miss Emoillient Pageant. This was a contest judged by our mother, in which the holder of the darkest tan was awarded a crown, a sash, and a scepter.
Technically, the prize could go to either a male or a female, but the sash read MISS EMOILLENT because it was always assumed that my sister Gretchen would once again sweep the title. For her, tanning had moved from an intense hobby to something more closely resembling a psychological dysfunction. She was what we called a tanorexic: someone who simply could not get enough. Year after year she arrived at the beach with a base coat that the rest of us could only dream of achieving as our final product. With a mixture of awe and envy we watched her broiling away on her aluminum blanket. The spaces between her toes were tanned, as were her palms and even the backs of her ears. Her method involved baby oil and a series of poses that tended to draw crowds, the mothers shielding their children's eyes with sand-covered fingers.
Sister included this book in "The Big Box of Cancer Fun" that Mom and Dad brought to OKC for my first surgery. It's been eyeing me for a few months, and I'm glad I finally sat down to start reading it. It's an amusing, easy read, which is exactly what I need in my life right now.

One book I am meaning to read:
Are you kidding? That list is way longer than one book.

* This could have been the same trip when he proposed to me!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

sweet fantasy

Dear Peyton,

Please fix my NFL fantasy football draft so that you can play for my team. And please win the Superbowl this year. I'll be watching.

your greatest fan in infinity

PS: The Hater doesn't have to know.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Street Fighter 2

The Hater is about to beat this arcade game that he downloaded to his Xbox. He was an arcade junkie when he was a kid. Even when we started dating I can remember he and his roomate going to the mall to play games in the arcade.

He tried to get me to play, but I was a staunch Tetris girl. I only wanted to fight with boxes. This is funny because as a kid I had a Nintendo and asked for Tetris, but Mom and Dad wouldn't get it for me because they said I'd get bored with it and not play it. We had plenty of other games to play, but I wanted to move the boxes. In college I had a friend with a Tetris game, and we'd sit in the floor of her dorm room and play it for HOURS.

Someone (LV7 methinks) found me a Tetris game that would play on Windows... and in a dorm room without a television, I played that game for HOURS and HOURS. I played that version of Tetris so much that I'd go to sleep seeing boxes fall in my head. Good times.

Meanwhile, my job helping The Hater is to pick who should fight the bosses. I like to pick the yellow guy because he looks like the missing link...

There was a Tetris arcade game in the wishy-washy where The Hater did his laundry in college. One time he took me there just to beat the game - because he was angry that he couldn't beat it. He says he remembers that we "got super far" on it.

He just beat the game he was playing for the first time since he downloaded it. He's really excited. He says he and his brother used to play it on Super Nintento when they were kids, and he played it with Angry Dissenter when we were in Vegas.

Now we can conquor the game of what we'll be cooking for lunch.


1. Throw out nonessential numbers.
This includes age, weight, and height.

Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay them.

2. Keep only cheerful friends.
The grouches pull you down.
(Keep this in mind if you are one of those grouches!)

3. Keep learning:
Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever.
Never let the brain get idle. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop."

And the devil's name is Alzheimer's!

4. Enjoy the simple things

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
And if you have a friend who makes you laugh, spend lots and lots of time with them!

Align Center
6. The tears happen:
Endure, grieve, and move on.
The only person who is with us our entire life, is our self.
LIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love:
Whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever.
Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health:
If it is good, preserve it.

If it is unstable, improve it.
If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips.
Take a trip to the mall, even to a foreign country,
but NOT to where the guilt is!

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

Friday, August 18, 2006

dancing in the streets

This afternoon I heard some great news. Long story short -- they liked my essays and I've won what I consider to be the grand prize. I'm uber excited, and to celebrate The Hater is taking me out to supper tonight.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

are we there yet

This week at work has been relentless. One of my coworkers is out sick, and the nurse who usually fills in when we're busy has not been able to come work with us, and we're still short a full-time float position, which has left me and my supervisor to cover a crazy busy week.

And if that wasn't enough, the machine we take our medications out of has been on the blitz, which means at the end of the day we're having to go back and tell it everything all over again. The last two days I've not left work until 6:30, and today doesn't look like it's going to be any better. Therein lies the however.

This morning I woke up and looked at the clock. I couldn't remember what day it was. I asked The Hater, who squinched his eyes at me, wondering if there were any questions worthy of being asked at such an early hour. I wondered because Friday morning I have an office meeting... nevermind that I already had a nursing staff meeting on Monday... I couldn't remember if it was Thursday or Friday, which would determine if I was able to hit the snooze just one more time.

It's sad, I think, that I wasn't thinking, Oh, goodie! Friday! But instead, If it's Friday, I have to get up; if it's Thursday, I can rest one more snooze. I tried to rest, but by that time Zoloft had realized that I was awake, so she jumped on the bed and rubbed her whiskers in my face as she pawed my shoulder and meowed. Usually I fake sleep until she leaves me alone, but she had already heard me talking, and I didn't think I'd be able to trick her this morning. She might be amused by wads of paper, but she's still a smart cat.

We stretched in the floor and talked about how wonderful Friday will be. She's always excited for Friday, too, because that's the day we give her kitty crack, otherwise known as anti-hairball treats. She'll beg for them all week, much like we whine for Friday afternoon, and tomorrow we'll both know our sweet rewards.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Haterade Big Gulp

Haterade scale: 4.75 (considering the subject matter)

This is something that made me angry that I think everybody should watch, unless you don't care about the world. This link is to a story Keith Olbermann did last night. The report is called "The Nexus of Politics and Terror". Scroll down to see the video, and press the Play arrow to watch it. The story is self-explainatory.

If you watch this, you'll get to hatin', too.

Monday, August 14, 2006


The skies darkened as I drove home from work this afternoon, and as I looked out the window at the yellow grass, I did a raindance in my head. The thunder is rolling as I type, and it would seem that the bottom has fallen out of the looming cloud. I hope it will drizzle all night long.

This afternoon The Hater and I renewed Harrison's tags, expired by one month. This is better than our prevoius track record... which was a three month expiration you may remember from last year. Again I told the nice lady at the tag agency that I didn't understand how they mailed me the renewal forms, yet I didn't recieve them. Yes, they were correct in the computer. Yes, that's right. Sure, I'll pay with cash. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

I returned to The Hater in the air-conditionered car, as the internal thermometer read a cool 103. We drove under the big cloud, and I realized that Harrison's title was in my maiden name, which means the renewal thing they could have sent would have been trashed by my once-over mailroom. Aha... problem solved. Except it wasn't, really, because they didn't change my maiden name to The Hater's name. So next summer we'll go through the same thing all over again. Tra-la-tra-la.

I'm ready for Friday... but for now I'll settle for a gentle shower outside.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


I'm working on a project that's been in the makings for several months. I'd been saving caps off of different IV meds, and they're lots of different colors. Currently they're all spread out, in neatly disheveled piles by color.

My first set of projects was to glue them into flower shapes on glass balls. I've done that while The Hater was sleeping. My next project is more artsy, and I'm somewhat rushed because I know he thinks that it's just a big mess in the middle of the living room.

Meanwhile, it's approximately 106 outside. I know that because I had to go get more mini glue sticks. My favorite craft store was closed, so I bit the bullet and went to Wal Mart. I've not shopped there in so long that I'd almost forgotten how special a shopping experience it lends.

And now I'm back, the new Slim Shady, and I'm ready to roll. Doo-dad project #2, here I come.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I've been around.

33 states... I'm thinking 64% isn't that bad, considering.

Friday, August 11, 2006

stolen meme

It was so fun I had to steal it...


Here’s how it works:

1. Copy the entire text and post in your blog. (Reminder: do not copy photos.)
2. Add your name and link to the “Panty Meme Participants” list below.
3. Post a picture of panties. It’s fun if you post your own photo, though you don’t have to.
4. Tag two people and change out the names below.

Panty Meme Participants:


Team Gingerbread





Tag, you’re it!

1. Angry Dissenter -- because I know he can come up with something that's only slightly wrong.

2. Uniquivocal_Prowess -- because underwear is too much fun when you're slightly tipsy.

3. any other random wanderers who want to claim a tag

Oh, and here is my pantalooned contribution:

You've got to remember
and still love
those Underoos!
I had a pair of the Supergirl underoos.

They gave me
secret powers.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

spoilled rotten

Tuesday morning after The Hater took me to work he went grocery shopping. Among other things on the list, I asked him to pick up some milk. We usually get skim milk by the half gallon, and we rarely finish it before it expires.

We're not big milk drinkers. For one thing, I think it stinks. All milk stinks. Stinky stinky stink. If I think our milk is expired The Hater has to smell it because it all stinks to me. He'll say, Can't you smell that, but I never can. I'll only eat it with my grits, but not with anything else, and I sure won't drink a glass of it by choice.

Aside: Imagine my chagrin after the first surgery when the surgeon removed one of my parathyroid glands, which knocked my calcium levels into the toilet, "hypoparathyroidism", and I forced myself to drink milk to try to recover my levels. The hospital didn't bring me skim milk... it was thick and gaggy 2% of dry heaves milk. Actually, I made myself drink two cups of milk a day for about a week after the surgery, until my other three parathyroid glands stopped wigging out, because if I had showed more low-calcium symptoms, they would have hospitalized me again to get IV calcium, and I certainly did not want that.

I drank milk to avoid that. Only my closest of friends know how big that is for me.

Back to grocery shopping... When I came home from work The Hater was quick to tell me that the milk in the refrigerator was sour. I had thought my grits tasted funny the last few days. He asked why I hadn't woken him to smell the milk for me, but I hated to do that because he's never excited to smell the bad milk, and it just tasted a little whangy. Actually, I thought I'd just added too much butter to them.

Today my grits tasted just right. Who knew it was the milk all along... The Hater also picked up some cereal so that maybe if he's on milk duty we won't drink bad milk.

The most amusing part of this story is that The Hater's step-dad owns a dairy farm. One of the first times I was invited to visit his family they gave me blank stares when I told them I didn't drink milk. It was a major family faux pas, but I gained back a few brownie points when the cows got out of their pasture and I helped to round them back up.

Sister, on the other hand, is an Olympic milk drinker. She could drink a whole gallon in a day if she wanted, an idea which makes my stomach turn. However, she's afraid of cows. She would never volunteer to help round up cattle.

Something dairy is not right with us, and I'm not so sure if it's heredity or environment. My parents would probably argue that it's both.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Dear Arielle

This message is for Arielle of Illinois... who will soon take her first radioactive Iodine treatment. She had asked some questions about my I131, and since I can't find her email or blog address, this post is her answer.

The first and most important thing I want to tell you is that if you have any questions about your treatment, call your endocrinologist's office and ask them. Make a list and leave a long message. You have a right to know about all aspects of your treatment, including what to expect. Don't think that it will make you look silly for not knowing -- really they're the silly ones for not telling you important things from the start.

I say that because my RAI treatment was different from what you will be expecting because in Oklahoma, ablation doses can be given on an outpatient basis. I stayed in my apartment in an extra bedroom, away from my husband and the cat. You mention that you're going to be hospitalized for your ablation dose; their rules will more than likely be more strict than mine were. (That's why it's a good idea to go ahead and ask them what you should expect.)

I'm supposed to be on the low iodine diet two weeks before the RAI and the week of the treatment. I'll stop taking my short-acting thyroid medication when I start the diet that I lovingly refer to as 'sticks and twigs'.

If your treatment is like mine, your first "dose" will be a scanning dose. Mine was 4 millicuries, which is just a spit in the bucket compared to the ablation dose (my first one was 100 millicuries, and I think the next one will be 200 mci.). I'll still be able to work until I get the ablation dose, but I'll have to stay away from pregnant women, babies, and my cat for five or six days. That's my best bet why you have to be away from your kids as of the 17th... and why you'll be hospitalized on the 22nd. (My test dose is on September 11th, and I'll return on the 13th for my scan and ablation dosing.) In short, you might be getting the small "scan" dose on the 17th, and your ablation dose on the 22nd... but like I keep saying, just call and ask them.

Our ablation experiences will be different if you'll be hospitalized for yours. They will want you to take multiple showers each day and clean your own bathroom, since the radiation will get out of your system through your sweat, saliva, and urine... probably breast milk, too, since you'll have to, as you so eloquently put it, "pump and dump". You won't be able to have any visitors for several days, so go ahead and make a list of people who can call you to entertain you. You'll have a television, but that gets old after a while. If you bring books or magazines, there's a chance they'll make you throw them away when you are discharged from the hospital... which is why it's a good idea to call your endocrinologist and ask what you can expect. If they won't let you take magazines home, they probably won't let you take a cell phone or your laptop, either. I don't know if they'll let you take your pump - or maybe the hospital has one you can use? ... just ask them what they expect you to do in a room for several days by yourself.

That was probably the hardest part for me -- just being by myself. I'm not exactly a social butterfly... but I have a social job, and The Hater and I really like hanging out together. Being alone in a room got old. Bleh.

Since you take the RAI by mouth, some of the radiation can get into your salivary glands. I've read some poor research saying that you should frequently eat sour candy to help excrete the radiation from your salivary glands... I had lemon drops and sour gum that I tried to nibble on for a few days. You should also drink lots of water to try to flush it from your system.

I didn't know what to expect as far as the radiation went... but it was really not halfway as exciting as I thought it would be. Sometimes in the mornings I'd wake up and have a funky taste in my mouth, but it would generally go away after I brushed my teeth and ate something. I had only a little nausea, but it was super minimal, to a point where I could will it away and never actually threw up. Most people don't have any nausea or problems with it.

Let me know if you have any other questions or need anything!

PS: Have you been to the thyroid cancer webpage? They have some information about what you can expect with a hospitalized RAI, but again I'd like to stress that you should ask your endocrinologist about what you can expect. We pay them enough, the least they can do is answer some questions!

I was really confused about my first RAI treatment, too. This is a link to a post I wrote back in May during my first RAI treatment. It's about how crazy it was that I never knew what to expect. Just know you're not alone in your bewilderment...

PPS: You're officially EMPOWERED. Go forth and make a list so that your foggy brain doesn't get lost when you ask your endocrinologist those questions! Make them earn that copay...

bad boys, bad boys

Around three this morning The Hater got out of bed. I woke up, figuring he had slept for seven hours and was no longer tired, and turned over to go back to sleep. This morning he was very excited to tell me what happened...

He woke up to go to the restroom, and then he decided to get a glass of water. While drinking the water, he kept hearing a helicopter. He thought he was going crazy... until he opened the vertical blinds by the sliding glass door... and saw a police helicopter circling the field across from our apartments "with the search light and everything".

He stayed out on the porch for about twenty minutes watching the helicopter circle and listening to the sirens. Our apartment building is on the far side of the complex, so he couldn't actually see the police viehicles or anybody running around the field. He said he was waiting to see someone jump the fence into our apartment complex, but they never did. He was posed and ready to call 911, just in case.

My husband, the civic leader.

We would have watched the local news this morning to see the story behind the excitement, but we didn't because then we'd have to actually watch the local news. The local news networks around here are supreme hokey, so we don't watch them, unless a tornado threatens.

I'm sure one of my coworkers will fill me in...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

spy vs spy

The Hater woke me up this morning asking if there was anything special on the laptop that I would want to save before he reloads Windows. Apparently he'd been up all night arguing with a spyware program and decided it'd be easier to strip the computer and start over to kill it... He was not happy. He told me this several times as he drove me to work.

I can't help but think of the Spy vs Spy cartoons in Mad magazine. I imagine The Hater in a white hat, secretly battling the guy who designed the spyware in the black hat, the evil spyware creator who hides his secret evil files in secret places. And secret files to recreate the deleted secret files when the white-hatted spy finds the not-so-secret files.

This afternoon he picked me up from work telling me stories about reloading everything back onto the laptop... and he continued to be not happy, excpet this time he was really tired, which made him more aggravated and gagged.

Spyware should be illegal. I imagine The Hater will share some of his rage on that subject at a later date, maybe sometime after he's caught up on his lost sleep.

Monday, August 07, 2006

let the groans begin

I'm tired, and I don't know how much of that is Monday and how much of that is the lack of synthroid in my life (my thyroid hormone). It's true that I'm still on the Cytomel, the shorter-acting version of synthroid, and they say it's the same. However, I'm worn out and have entered into foggy-brain, one of my favorite hypothyroid symptoms.

This morning I called the endocrinologist's office to officially make appointments for my upcoming RAI scan and dosing, and I could hardly make a coherant sentence when the receptionist answered the phone. We both ended up laughing before I took a deep breath and pieced a sentence together. "It's okay. It's Monday.", she offered. "And yall have whacked out my hormones, too.", I countered. Several glasses of caffiene later, I perked up, but still had the foggy edge.

My coworkers aren't going to know how to deal with me when I start feeling good again!

For those of you keeping up with my dramatic medical-social life, I'll continue taking the Cytomel until the 27th, at which point I go cold turkey off of everything and begin the low iodine diet. My lab and scanning dose will be September the 11th, and the scan will be the 13th. They'll probably dose me with the mamma-jamma dose on the 13th, too, which means I might get to eat regular food again by the weekend.

Friday, August 04, 2006

the pear that wasn't

Somewhere between fifth grade and sixth grade Michael Jordan was the Bulls. Paula Abdul was still singing. George Michael was straight. And my stylish bowl-cut with rainbow bangs would soon give way to a head of curls.

I insisted that Nana come over because I knew that she rolled her hair a lot at home, and that seemed to be enough prestige to preside over Mom's attempt at our first home-permanent. Mom was still keeping it cool with the bowl cut, but Sister and I were ready to move into the 90s with Annie's curls and Punky Brewster's wit.

I don't remember a whole lot about that experience, other than we were tender-headed and Mom kept pulling, despite our tears, saying "Beauty must suffer pain." (Maybe this is why I gave up plucking my eyebrows for my New Year's resolution, which I've kept, I might add.) We sat in the kitchen on the yellow stool as Mom and Nana rolled and waited. We entered Sunday School the next day with the tightest brunette curls you've ever seen... and matching dresses.

This is an important back story. If you've ever had a permanent-- or walked into a country salon on the wrong day of the week, the one thing that you remember is the smell. Permanents stink. They stink so bad that you can taste the smell in your mouth. It's a bitter, foul whang that lingers...

That said, Unequivocal Prowess and I are together tonight trying different things. When the boys are gone we usually stick with hard cider and light beer. But tonight! Tonight we first tried raspberry cider-- which tasted like hot fish tank. (Her version is at the link above.) We were disapointed.

So then we tried the Pear cider. You might be thinking, okay, pears... pears are sweet, kinda gritty... an okay fruit to try alcholizing. Why not, right? Wrong.

It tastes like permanent. It tastes like it's 16 years ago and I'm sitting in the kitchen waiting to get the rollers out of my hair. It tastes like Wednesday at Extremities. It tastes like the night after you get a permanent, where you reek so much that your pillow smells for the rest of the week. Even if you try to drink it with your nose pinched, it tastes like the throw-away permanent that's sat in the sun for three days waiting for the dumpster pick-up.

Final verdict: Wodchuck Pear Draft Permanent Cider: Drunkeness should not have to suffer this pain.

This is a post not about the c-bomb.


TGIF. I can't begin to tell you how excited I am that it's Friday.

It's been a long week at work. Not busy, but long. I'm proud of myself that I've made it.

It's one of a few full weeks that I've worked since April. It was nice not to have to go to an appointment.

Let's celebrate this weekend. Everybody come over.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

1000 words

Two weeks ago today my second smile was extended.
Here's the pictoral journey.

This one was taken the morning of my surgery. The scar you see is from my total thyroidectomy that was in April.

The tye-dye is straight from the Farm in Summertown...

This one was taken around the third day after surgery. The steri-strips were starting to come off and drive me nuts.

The next day I couldn't stand it... and I took off the rest of the steri-strips.

The bruising really isn't that bad, considering it was a big neck surgery. The bruised spot below the incision was where the drain was. If the surgeon had not used a drain, my neck would have been super-duper bruised.

And a few more days later... slowly healing. I've been using Vitamin E oil during the day and Neosporin at night.

Last night! Doesn't it look great?

It looks almost as good as the first scar, which leads me to believe it will look absolutely stellar in three more months.

(all pictures taken by The Hater)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

on my way-ish

Tuesday I stopped taking my synthroid (the long-acting thyroid medication) and started taking cytomel (the short-acting thyroid medicaiton). I'll stay on cytomel for the rest of this month-ish. When I stop taking the cytomel I will begin the stick and twig diet. In the next couple of days I should know more about the details of my next radioactive Iodine treatment and scans that will take place mid September-ish.

The details are all -ishy right now, so we're just playing it by ear.

My shoulder, for example. During the surgery I was turned into a human pretzel. That's made this last week relentlessly achy and annoying. I had lost a lot of my range-of-motion to my right shoulder, but I'm slowly gaining it back. I'm doing stretches, taking muscle relaxers, and The Hater is my massuse extrordinaire. It's a slow process, but I can tell it's making a difference.

I'm also trying to keep heat on it intermittently. Today at work I figured out a way to wrap it over my shoulder/upper back and wear a light nurse jacket over it, to keep it in place. I kept the cord in my pocket. Then if I was sitting behind the desk, bingo-bongo, I'd plug it in. Likewise if I was sitting next to a patient, pushing drugs, starting IVs, or doing whatever. Smart plan, I thought, even if it took me three days back to work to figure it out.

At lunch someone asked me if I'd hurt it playing softball. I couldn't resist. I told him we went into a couple of extra innings, and I'd asked for my Southpaw relief, and even did the gesture by tapping my left forearm. He asked if the coach made the switch, to which I shook my head and told him the team couldn't risk the cold arm. He nodded. None of my coworkers said a word, although one of them gave me a questioning glance.

Lunch continued. On my way out he asked if we won the game. I told him that really I had cancer and had another surgery to remove some positive lymph nodes, which ended up freezing my shoulder, and that was why I was really wearing the heating pad.

Blank stare. That answer sounded almost as random as my first. Maybe I should have told him that we almost won... but I was up to bat, bottom of the second extra inning with runners on first and second, 2 outs and 2 strikes. Somehow I busted the fast ball, but as I was sliding into first I caught my neck on the baseman's cleat, which opened up my neck, and I didn't know we lost until I was in the recovery room. I can't believe the ump called my pristine slide an out.

That would have been a better-ish answer.

the gremlin ate it

I was going to tell a brilliant, witty story about my day here, but blogger ate the long version.
The shorter version isn't as entertaining, so you'll just have to wonder.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

extend my warranty

After my first surgery my coworker told me that I could claim anesthesia for any brain-farts for up to six months after surgery. We had marked the office calander that I could claim drug-induced stupidity until October 3rd.

Due to the second surgery, my anesthesia excuses have been extended until January 20th next year. I'm also claiming that I get double-excuses for the next three months, since they overlap my previous excuse timeline.

Last night I earned an excuse...

We had received a few more bills in the mail, and I was writing checks and stuffing envelopes. I'd also received a bunch of cards from family and friends. And The Hater had some mail. We were swimming in a table of mail.

We ate supper and moved on to other things. I walked back to the kitchen and noticed that there was only one stamped envelope waiting to be mailed... but I know I'd written two checks.

I checked the checkbook, et viola, the stub existed. I had thrown away the stamped envelope with the check inside of it. Stupid. At least I didn't throw it into the garbage with the corn husks, silks, and cobs...

The Hater rolled his eyes at me. I forgot to remind him that I could continue to claim anesthesia for a while. If I remember, I'll do it later.