Sunday, December 30, 2007

sniffle sniffle hack

I think all of the hustle-bustle of driving and visiting and celebrating (not to mention drastic weather changes) has been the perfect setting for me to get a cold.  

If  you remember, I've had a cough.  Now I've got a cough with a continual fountain of snot to blow.  It's very exciting.

Zoloft is so excited that we're back from our travels.  She has been very attentive to us between her naps.  The first night we were home she woke me up five times to let me know she was there.  The Hater says she's about driving him nuts...  When she's not pestering us, she's absolutely taken with her new cat toys.  Her favorite toys eventually get deposited in her water bowl, the highest sign of appreciation.  Since we've been back, we've found each of her new toys in her water bowl at different times.  

It's so hard to be the house cat.

Tomorrow evening we're going to have some friends over for some low-key New Year's Eve celebrations.  We're going to start with spaghetti and end up with Rock Band (or some board game, or both).  We hope it goes well.

This afternoon we made some chicken noodle soup.  Actually, we made enough soup to feed an army.  We ate some for supper, and I've got four tall containers for later this week.  I've got a zippy full of some for lunch at work tomorrow, and I've got a gallon bag of it in the freezer for well after we're tired of eating it.  

Our Christmas stuff is still up, and will probably stay up until the weekend.  The Hater and I won't bother taking everything down until then anyways.  It'll give us a chance to add our new Xmas decorations and ornaments to the collection, too.  We're on our way to have an ALL VOL tree.  Very exciting.

We hope all of you have a fantastic New Year celebration -- whether you ring in the new year partying or sleeping, we hope that 2008 brings you both peace and joy.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Preferences

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping Paper! Bags take away all the fun.
2. Real tree or artificial? 100% Fake.
3. When do you put up the tree? This year we did it a week or so before Thanksgiving.
4. When do you take the tree down? That will depend on when The Hater is in town.
5. Do you like eggnog? Only if it's spiked.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? The gift of learning to appreciate the reason for the season.
7. Do you have a Nativity scene? Yes, complete with Smokey.
8. Hardest person to buy for? Anyone who doesn't give me a hint as to what they want.
9. Easiest person to buy for? Zoloft (wadded post-it note).
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Tube socks that weren't my size.
11. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Perm, do both!
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? (you can't pick just one)
classic: Charlie Brown Christmas
modern: Elf, The Nightmare Before Christmas
horror: Black Christmas
just wrong in the right way: Bad Santa
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Valentine's Day.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Absolutely, but I usually rewrap it first. See #1.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Nana's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
16 Clear lights or colored on the tree? Perm, do both.
17. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night
18 Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travel, but only go to home. We just live in here; it's not home.
19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph... (but I have to sing the song to do it!)
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? A star.. but only because we found that one on sale.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Yes. We love progressive holidays.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Traffic!
23. Favorite Christmas tradition? Gag gifts.
24. Up early or sleeping in? I always default to sleeping in, except for Christmas morning!
25. Who hands out the gifts? Whoever is closest to the tree.
26. Does Santa wrap your gifts? No, Santa's elves wrap them.
27. Do you tell the Christmas story? Yes, we read it.
28. Do you leave cookies for Santa? We leave whatever is in the cabinets. Last year we left band fruit.

FYI: We leave soon for our big trek to the other side of the river for a tender, TN Christmas. We hope everybody has a safe and happy holiday season. Give everybody extra hugs and kisses while you can.

Friday, December 14, 2007

winter wonderland update

The ice is gone and has been for a couple of days.  We are fortunate to have electricity, however many people in the state are still waiting for electricians or the electric company to come to their aid.

The city has opened the convention center as a shelter.  This morning I heard on the radio that the first night they were open they had 350 people who had come, seeking warmth and water.  They can handle up to 700, and they've had several notices come out on the news today, encouraging all people without electricity and water to come downtown to the shelter. 

As a member of the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corp, I've received several emails and phone calls over the last couple of days, seeking for nurses to volunteer to staff the shelter.  I really would like to go help, however The Hater has put his foot down and refused me to go.  Seriously.  He raised his voice and everything.

The truth is that I have a cough.  I've been coughing, mostly at night, since a few days before Thanksgiving.  I went to see a doctor this week, mostly because my sweet husband was worried about me.  The doctor was as unimpressed with my cough as I was.  We're going to watch it for two more weeks and see what happens after that.  We drew some blood to make sure that everything was okay.  They were going to call today if anything was askew, and nobody called.  So for the next two weeks we'll tough-out the cough.

But The Hater is a good husband and doesn't like my cough.  He says my cough disqualifies me from working at the shelter this weekend.  When I tried to argue he said that I couldn't get sicker before the trip home next week.

That's the best argument he's ever had.  So when it starts snowing later, which we're supposed to get another few inches tonight, don't worry about us.  We'll be inside, in the heat, spoiling the cat, nursing a cough--- and not out in the mess that's headed this way.

Special Thanks--
To all of the volunteers who are able to staff the shelters this weekend, to the volunteers who have come to help the electric company fix the problem lines, and to everyone else who has sent good vibes this way.  

Monday, December 10, 2007

the weather outside is frightful

It’s a winter wonderland. Ice Storm 2007 is here and demanding to be noticed. There have been 100+ car accidents in the OKC area and 10 reported deaths due to the storm in the past two days.

It’s raining now and it’s called to thunderstorm later this afternoon. They had said it would be less than freezing today, making all of this rain more ice. But so far we’re just getting rain, which is making the roads and parking lots slushier.

The Hater, who isn’t at work today because of the weather, is my chauffeur. He drove me to work this morning. The typically 10 minute drive took us 30 minutes to creep along. It wasn’t so bad once we got to the “snow route”, the roads that had been sanded and had seen more traffic, but the other, less frequented, roads were treacherous, at best.

We have blankets and leftovers a’plenty. We are stocked to the hilt and still have electricity. We also have a furball who is as excited as all get-out that The Hater gets to stay home one extra day with her.

If it continues to be warmer and rain this afternoon, it will make for a slushy tomorrow. It’s 31 degrees right now, if the temperature drops and we get 2” of ice, it will make for a slicker tomorrow. We’ll update as things progress.

Brace yourselves, LBG—winter is coming your way!

Friday, November 30, 2007

benign holiday foible

I've mentioned before that Christmas music is my weakness. Big time. All of the random kiosks call out to me and pull at my inner heartstrings so that I simply must go see which titles they offer this year. Somehow they end up in my buggy.

Last year The Hater put a limit on me. I was only allowed to buy three new cds. But this year I've not been given a limit yet.

On a curious whim tonight I bought a new Christmas cd because I had absolutely nothing like it... and it's fantastic. It's sing-a-long good. Seriously. I've had the Bose up to 85, scaring the cat and totally rocking out tonight, and thought this would be a great opportunity to give some Christmas music pointers, based on my humble collection.

These are in no particular order of preference. They're all winners:
  • Elvis: Christmas Because it's just not Christmas without the King. (pun intended)
  • John Denver & The Muppets: A Christmas Together That's right! It's hard to beat the classics with a twist of Kermit the frog.
  • Burl Ives: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The soundtrack to the classic holiday tv show. Not something you could listen to all the time, but worth its weight in "Silver and Gold".
  • Christmas with Johnny Cash The oldies with that familiar deep talky-singy voice.
  • James Taylor: at Christmas Jimmy at his best. Some classics- some with his bari twist.
  • Ray Charles: Celebrates a Gospel Christmas with the Voices of Jubilation! Okay, I admit that we bought this one after the Ray movie came out. It's okay for something different, but not the greatest holiday mix.
  • Frank Sinatra: Under the Mistletoe So classic that any Christmas music collection would be incomplete without the crooner. This one came in a pack of 3 cds with the next two. Actually, it was the first Christmas music cds that we purchased after we were married, and arguably the best ones in our collection.
  • Perry Como: That Christmas Feeling See above. It's not Christmas without the crooners.
  • Bing Crosby: Featuring the Andrews Sisters See above. These three are Christmas music legends. Period.
  • Twisted Sister: A Twisted Christmas This was the serendipitous buy that I made tonight, and I'm so glad I did. These are the classics you know, with that 80s rock and roll feel that makes you just a little nostalgic for ratty denim jackets and teased bangs. It is in no way disrespectful to the season, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone from Gen X or Gen Y.
  • Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration I'm not so sure what I was expecting with this cd, but I'm disappointed by it. Maybe I was expecting it to have more of a Celtic flair. It's pretty, but forgetful.
  • Santa Paws That's right. No respectful collection is complete without cats and dogs meowing and barking in tune. This version was obviously done on a keyboard, so I was a little disappointed that it didn't have the zoological feel.
  • holiday jazz (jazz piano) I played piano in my high school's jazz band, so there's a special place in my heart for solo jazz piano anything.
  • Caribbean Christmas Not one of my better buys. In college some of the head honcho percussion gurus had a steel drum group that was fantastic, and I heard them play Christmas mixes before. So when I saw this cd I thought, hey, that'll be like Lalo Davila's group; It will rock! Except that it wasn't anything like Lalo's group, and its only similarity to a rock is that it would sink if you threw it into a pool of water. If you know Lalo, please ask him to make a Christmas cd so I can buy a better steel drum arrangement and pass this one on to those less fortunate.
  • Angels from the Realms of Glory: London Symphony Orchestra All the standards. I bought it for one dollar, which was a great buy.
  • Christmas with the St. James Harp Quartet The Hater is very particular about holiday instrumentals, and he won't let me have any Christmas music that has a solo sax anything. He says it's because his Mom played a certain soprano sax cd over and over for three Christmases straight, and so far that's his only steadfast rule about the subgenre of holiday music . (Although he really hates the music of Celine Dion. I saw that she has her own holiday cd out now, and it was really hard for me not to buy it on sole principle that I knew he'd hate it.*) Another $1 buy.
  • Holiday Voices of Children I thought this cd would be cute voices of kids singing, but it's a children's choir singing... which is okay, but the refinement takes a little away from the magic. Not something that anybody could sing-along with. Another $1 buy.
  • Handel's Messiah: London Symphony Orchestra with teh St. James 48 Voice Chorale It's the kit-and-kaboodle. Another great $1 buy. The Hallelujah chorus alone was worth this buck.
  • Alan Jackson: Let it be Christmas I worked with a lot of people who were big country music-listeners and they burned this for me, saying my collection wasn't varied enough.
  • Kenny Chesney: All I Want for Christmas Guess who burned this one for me, too...
  • Garth Brooks: The Magic of Christmas Yep. You guessed it. I think my collection was way more varied than theirs.
  • The Statlers: Christmas Present Track 2: "Christmas Country Style" Super fun. Another person at the same office burned this one for me.
  • Gladys Knight: Christmas Celebration Someone told me this sounded like gospel music and not Christmas music, but I like it anyway.
  • Marianne Beard: O, Holy Night My favorite single. I wish she'd do a whole Christmas cd!! (hint, hint)
If you have a favorite must-have holiday cd that you don't see on this list, please let me know! I'm always looking for goodies to add to our collection. After all, it's the most wonderful time of the year...

* I still have the Yankees.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

faux updating

More than a year ago I admitted that I needed to update my address book, which at the time was still the list that we used for wedding invitations. We've now been married for about four and a half years, and I've still not officially updated my address book. I've thought about it several times during the year, but never took it as a project. Truth be told, I could probably finish that project in an afternoon, but the thing is that I don't want to do it. It's not a fun project, so it continues to not be done.

So now every time we look at the list we have to mentally remember who has had babies (and what their names are), who has died, who has moved, who has gotten divorced or changed their name, etc. It's a mental exercise that's more complicated than Friday's Sudoku puzzle.

And the time has come again where I lug out my outdated address book and think about how nice it would be if I had the time to update it. So, again, I flip through the pages and wonder which address is correct, what they named their baby, and daydream about a correct address book that updates itself as people's lives change.

If you've moved and I don't have your new address, now is probably a great time to email it to me... or your other option is not to have your feelings hurt when your Christmas card is returned back to my house because we both dropped the ball.

To clarify: No, I'm not updating the address book as I go through it this time, either. But if you'd like to come visit and you're into mundane, tedious projects... I've got the perfect job for you!

Friday, November 23, 2007

communication

I don't do the whole Black Friday shopping thing. More power to the people who like to get up far too early and wait in line in the cold to go shopping, but for me, I'd rather be in bed. This isn't to say that I'm against holiday shopping, because typically by now I like to be more than halfway done with shopping and wrapping.

If we're not halfway, we're really close.

Before the preparation of the turkey fiasco I was wrapping the gifts that we had already purchased throughout the year. The Hater and I were watching football as I wrapped. There was one particular gift that kept jiggling in the box, so I asked The Hater go to back to the spare bedroom and get me some tissue paper.

This is what I had in mind:



This is what he brought me:



me: What is this?
him: It's tissue paper.
me: (laughing) No, that's kleenex.
him: Will it not work?
me: No, it would work for my family, but not for the gift I'm wrapping for your Mom.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

being thankful

The Short Version:

The results of my scan are back, and we saw exactly what we were hoping to see. There was faint uptake in the region of the thyroid gland. There was also normal uptake in my salivary glands, liver, GI tract and bladder.
This scan told us a lot—that my body will still react to radioactive Iodine treatments and that the cancer hasn’t spread anywhere else. However, we still won’t know how effective this treatment was for six more months (until I have all the scans and lab draws again in May).

The Long Version:

The holiday season is officially here, and for the first time, we have finished our Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. Usually The Hater protests Christmas celebrations before Thanksgiving, wanting to give each holiday its due time. But this year we decided to go ahead and celebrate Thanksgiving with the Christmas tree and nativity in the background. I’ve even been allowed to play Christmas music (my personal holiday weakness!).
With our schedules as crazy as they are we knew that if we didn’t put up the tree this past weekend, we’d probably get too busy to do it at all. What’s more, we know that the tree and holiday trimmings will probably be up until late January before our schedules will allow us to take them all down again.
But, really, what’s the harm in overlapping our holidays? The “fourth Thursday in November” is as arbitrary as the date “December 25th”. What makes days special isn’t their location on a calendar or which casseroles are served on the table, or even where you are in relationship to home. Holidays are special when you approach them with an open heart and truly take the moment to acknowledge their meaning.
Thanksgiving is nearly here, and like many other people, we have much for which to be thankful. Among the laundry list, somewhere between “our wonderfully supportive friends and family” and “power steering fluid”, we have an addendum that we would like to add to “good health”, because we’ve just heard back from the endocrinologist’s office.
We are thankful that the post scan showed only expected, normal uptake. We are thankful that the radioactive Iodine treatments continue to work (and kill stupid cancer cells) 6 months to a year after you take them. We’re also thankful for peace that passes understanding, and that so many prayers have been sent up for us that we’ve not even needed to worry this go-round because we know that no matter what happens in May (or June or tomorrow or in forty years), things are going to be okay.
We’re grateful for each of you. For your good vibes, your well-wishes, for your special youness (the reason we love you), but mostly because you’ve been here for us during the hard times.

I wish we could say that we’re done with the c-bomb show, but the truth is that we won’t know the effectiveness of this treatment until all the results from the labs and scans are back – next May. Although we’re through the immediate stage of feeling icky and needing extra prayers, please continue to keep us in your hearts in the months ahead; that this treatment continues to zap stubborn cells until May, when my scans COME BACK NEGATIVE and my tumor marker is LESS THAN ZERO. Friends, when these two things happen in May, we are going to host the biggest party that OKC has ever seen, and you’ll all be invited. It will be another day of Thanksgiving, and we may even put up the tree and celebrate Christmas again, too.
But for now you can take those good vibes and prayers out of overdrive and shift them back down to first gear. We’ll cue you in when it’s time to shift up again, and also send out another update in May when we hear the good news.
In the meantime, take the time to truly enjoy the upcoming holidays. Sing your favorite carol as loud as you can in the shower. Surprise someone, or yourself. Eat dessert first. Keep your tree up until June. Remember the reason for the season, and enjoy it with blind abandon.
Again we thank you for your endearing friendship and kindness.

Friday, November 16, 2007

HBDTY OK

Today is Oklahoma's centennial. They've been celebrating all year, so I'm not really sure how they're delineating this particular day, but I thought that I'd make the effort to extend birthday wishes, too.

With that done, I'd also like to make another, more political and less socially accepted delineation...

Part of celebrating any milestone birthday is looking back at past accomplishments, while gracing over its blemishes, and this 100th celebration is no different. It's difficult to talk about Oklahoma history without mentioning the massive disservice that this state and this country have done to the native American people, but again they're getting the shaft.

Cue the protest. And it's not like there's a surprise here -- it's been planned. See this article from last week's paper. Or watch this video from last week's news. And (this is the hard part) think for yourself...

Is it good enough? Is setting aside a few hours THE DAY BEFORE the "real celebrations" making an effort to include our native Americans or is it another example of forcing them with the short end of the stick, another proverbial blanket infected with small pox? Are we merely celebrating 100 years of theft?

I may be at work right now, but in spirit I'm marching downtown as part of a peaceful protest that may or may not make the evening news. I may not be a card-carrying native American, but I am proud of my Cherokee heritage, and appalled at the extreme ignorance that the many Oklahoma celebrations have overlooked.

Our native Americans have, yet again, been given the shaft. Happy birthday, Uglyhoma.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

aint life grand

I had great intentions to send out an update before this, but time flys when you're having fun...

Monday I woke early and did 8 loads of laundry while The Hater was atwork. I stripped my bed and washed everything. (Not to mention thetwo loads that didn't get done over the weeknd while I was still inisolation.)

Tuesday was my first day back to work, and it really was a doosey. I had forgotten how crazy tired I would be! But my coworkers are great, so it worked out okay.

Wednesday was another tiring day, but I smarted up (yes, that's aword), and started a list of things I needed to do before I left the house. I've done well with the list today and will likely have another list tomorrow.

What else? What's next?

Thursday I had a"post scan" here where I work. The purpose of this scan is multi-fold: First, we want to see for sure that the cancer cells are uptaking the treatment. Over time sometimes they quit wanting to play radioactive Iodine games; so we hope to see some evidence of disease on this scan. We want to see "hot spots" to know that the treatment is working. Next, we want to see where those "hotspots" are. Ideally, they'll only be around the place where my thyroid gland was. We don't want to see "hot spots" in different parts of my body, not in the lungs, not in the brain, not on the liver, not anywhere else -- except the "thyroid bed".It'll be next week before I hear about the results of this scan, but we have really good vibes about it.

Unofficially, some of my coworkers and I have been playing with the geiger counter. This is a machine that they use in radiation areas to measure the amount of radiation (or leakage). Also, this is the first cousin to the fun machine that's used in the Ghostbuster movies, too. It looks like a small, wanded version of a metal detector; the closer it gets to radiation, the arrow moves from left to right (more right being more radiation exposure), and the beeps get closer together...

So yesterday we were playing with this machine to see how "hot" I still am. (Mind you, I've been cleared by nucler medicine to return to work and be around people, so long as I don't spit on them.) Well,unofficially, I am still off the chart. The arrow went back almostall the way to the right, and went the furthest right when close tothe base of my neck. Arguably, this is not scientific and no substitute for a real scan, but preliminary findings lead us tobelieve that we have uptake in the thyroid bed ONLY. We hope that theofficial findings are as positive.

So this scan will tell us everything we need to know?

No, it's not that easy. Next May of 2008 I will have another set of scans and lab draws to determine how well this treatment worked. We have to remember that thyroid cancer really is a horse of a different color, and it's timeline is not as quick as some of the other cancer treatments.

Next May we're praying for "totally clear scans" AND a tumor marker"LESS THAN ZERO". We have complete faith that this treatment zapped all of the remaining cells in my body... but if for some reason I still have pesky cells hanging around, I will be referred to specialists at a major cancer center for evaluation and further treatment.

I know it's hard to ask people not to worry, so I'm not even going to bother. Instead I'd rather call upon the teachings of a brilliant professor I had at MTSU. He used to say that teaching was never a matter of motivating kids. Kids were already motivated -- to talk, to play, to look out the window, to pull Jane's hair. Instead, he taught us that to be successful, we would need to rechannel their motivation into a more constructive outlet, like multiplication tables.Scientifically, we say that energy is neither created nor destroyed.We say there is a finite amount of energy on this planet, and it takes turns being passed around from one thing to another. (and they said I'd never use what I learned in Pedagogy... You may recognize this analogy if you're a dedicated haiku reader because I'm sure I've used it before in relation to prison reform.)

Given that we're energetic beings, I'm not asking you not to worry, because the best of worries are a symptom of caring for me, and I really do appreciate that. Instead, I challenge you to rewire your worry. Rechannel it. Turn it into a prayer. Pray that this treatment keeps on working until EVERY LAST ONE of those stupid cancer cells are dead. Imagine your worry in a bubble, and float that bubble up to Heaven with wishes for a NEGATIVE tumor marker.

Satan uses worry and doubt against us, and breeds fear to make us feel far away from God (or whatever name you call Him). But the truth,dear friends, is that God is always right here next to us. He wantsus to ask for His help, and He wants to be helpful. He's been with us since the c-bomb dropped, and we know He'll be with us until forever,despite what the scans say in May.

Meanwhile, I'm still tired. My mouth tastes like exhaust pipe in the dead of Summer (after an old double-loaded tractor trailor has justclimbed Mounteagle Mountain). I'm borderline-constipated (expecting the grand exodus soon). But each day is one step closer to the day whenI feel better, and that is great news.

We hope that each of you are doing well, having a fantastic week. We hope you have big Thanksgiving plans. We hope you know how much we appreciate your friendship and your concern.

Please keep us in the loop if you have exciting things going on, too. It's times like these when we like to hear about other people's drama.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

slept late

I zonked pretty hard last night.

This morning I'm in the process of motivating myself to get up and take a shower. But The Hater isn't up yet, and Zoloft is out prowling. It'll be easier to do my thing once she's put back into her jail, too.

Maybe I'll just queue up a movie until he's up and roaming enough to put her up for me. Or maybe I'll send him a text and see if he's up yet. Or maybe I'll just go back to bed.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

real food

My first meal:

Toasted turkey and bacon on wheat with just a smidge of mayo.
Some angel hair pasta with herbs.

Sweet Jesus, this is heaven!!!

I'm restarting the Synthroid tonight, too, which means I'll be human again by mid-December.

I'll be sitting pretty, once I get some more senakot-s on board. The Hater has planned a trip to the store tonight to both pick up the necessities and also to play the "Rock Band" demo.

I still feel a little cruddy and tired, but there's much comfort to be found in real food.

present and accounted for

Tired and somewhat cruddy, but present.

Breakfast was easier this morning. I've had a shower and started laundry, but what I think I really need right now is a nap.

Friday, November 09, 2007

no reason

This is just a post to report that I'm still alive and sequestered.

To my knowledge, nothing else has died or been killed since my last post.

the tv just died

And to make matters worse, I was watching a musical (that I was in) on VHS. (gasp!) The tape, priceless, may have just bit the big one.

Thank goodness the laptop can play DVDs or I'd really have to take a nap.

and now I've killed the cat

The Hater said he had put her in the bedroom and closed the door.

This is the daily routine when I'm on isolation because this way I can keep my door open, get some fresh air, and not feel quite as sequestered. When he returns home from work, I close my door, and she's allowed to roam as she pleases (so long as she doesn't cry at my door).

Either the bedroom door wasn't completely pulled or Zoloft has learned to turn a door knob... because she just showed up at my door. I don't know which of us was more surprised to find the other sitting here.

So our one baby in the house who is at the most risk for being exposed to me has just been exposed, as I shoo'd her back to the bedroom I had to lift and toss her through the door. This is bad mojo for Zoloft's thyroid gland. Very bad mojo.

Only time will tell if less than 10 seconds of exposure to high dose RAI is enough to fry hers, too. Maybe it'll just burn one of her 7 remaining lives instead.

c-bomb yahtzee

We heard the news last night, and it wasn't the news we had hoped to receive.

The Hater's maternal grandmother found a breast lump, which was biopsied on Tuesday. The pathology came back as cancer.

I don't know yet what the exact path said or what the next part of the plan will be, if it's operable, how involved it is, if she's a candidate for chemo with her comorbidities, any of the details... other than the c-bomb has been dropped again. They're taking it pretty hard, as is The Hater's Mom, (within reason!) so please keep the whole family in your prayers and good thoughts.

I've had a shower and have started a load of laundry. My plan is to take a nap shortly after I finish my morning chores. My mouth tastes like exhaust pipe, but I'm doing just fine.

timeline: 18 hours down; 78 more to go

breakfast is a process

but I'm getting it down

Slept well last night.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I'm hot.


One hour down, 95 to go.

Piece of cake.

"I'm your Huckleberry."

Welp, folks, by the grace and good nature of God we have fanagled a way for me to wait until this afternoon to take the RAI dose, thus saving a day of time off at work. There actually wasn't much fanagling about it-- one of the nuke med technicians showed up yesterday afternoon and asked if I'd like to save my time and take the pill in the afternoon, to which I heartily agreed.

So I've been helping with projects that don't require me to remember my name. I've forgotten it twice this week already, and things aren't getting any prettier the longer I'm off my meds and my TSH continues to rise. (I've resorted to a script on a post-it, taped to my phone, so I won't sound like an idiot and forget my name again.) I've been making copies (on the machine that isn't posessed) and wearing the gopher hat today. These are easy tasks that don't require me to think, which are right down my alley.

My short term memory is shot. But somehow my movie trivia files are almost completely intact. Ask me to remember three items for ten minutes is a bust. Ask me about a plot line in a movie from the 80s or 90s, and I'm all over it. It's funny how our brains work.

The mental fog is so annoying for me, not because I'm some kind of genius, but because the fog makes me feel like an idiot. My short term memory is shot. I can't remember things without a mountain of post-its. I'm no longer any real help in the kitchen because I read what I need, turn around and walk towards the pantry, stare at the shelf, only to come back to the book and try it all over again. We can laugh about it, but it's still a pain in the neck. My endo said this was good practice for going through menopause.

I'd like to note that, although I appreciated the humor, she thought that joke was funnier than I did.

When thinking of this post, I had planned a neat transition between this story and the next part, but I didn't write it down. So imagine a pointed, slightly witty, and creatively smooth transition that had something to do with the next part.

(Insert it here.)

My high school Chemistry teacher was a bad instructor. I think we watched more movies than had lectures, which at the time was fantastic. We weren't watching anything relevant to class stuff - but whatever Disney cartoon was out or the film 8 Seconds.* I think we watched 8 Seconds, a movie about a real-life rodeo bull rider, 3 or 4 times during class time. It wasn't a particularly good movie, but we were in southern TN where it was cool to wear Ropers (although I never had any).

In the movie the main character, what's his name, had to rise up the ranks of the rodeo world. There was an especially mean bull who bucked everybody, and he was so tough that the community considered a ride of 8 seconds to be a major victory for anyone who tried to ride him. (or something like that- the bull was a serious hoss with which to be reckoned) There's a scene where one of the bulls ends up smashing one guy's nuts. There are several scenes of people being thrown from bucking bulls. Some people get hurt. There are rodeo clowns running around, but I don't remember them doing any real tricks, other than distracting bulls from pummeling their riders.

Anywho, what's his name wants to ride the big bull for 8 seconds. People say he can't do it. Insert dialogue. Insert plot twist, with an on-again, off-again, love interest. Somewhere along the way he coins the phrase "cowboy up", and then he rides the bull for 8 seconds before the bull throws him and kills him. He ended up placing in the competetion, which nobody thought he would do. The end.

In the back of my mind, I'm lacing up my ropers today. My mind is on the clock and the beast of a pill that's sitting inside a lead cyllinder.

It's time for me to cowboy up.

* We may have watched Toombstone, too. We really did watch more movies than do work in there, which leads me to believe that my teacher had a thing for Luke Perry. Lord only knows how I got through nursing school pre-requisits without a good foundation in chemistry.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

kickin ass and taking names

The results are in and I'll receive my third radioactive Iodine dose on Thursday morning, probably before lunch. I will again ask for the metachlorine blend and demand the brand of RAI that has the best Jedi-like side-effects. I expect this Jedi knight will have mastered some serious light sabre skills by this time next week.

By now you know the drill... I'll come home and hide out in the pimpin prison that we call the second bedroom. We're tech'n it out even as I type, so we should have both tv and the laptop raring to go by the time we need it.

Please keep sending good vibes this way. We appreciate all of them.

More details later. We've got some tech'n to get done.

it's early

God and I had a heart-to-heart yesterday evening, and I really have a peace about today and everything related to the c-bomb.

I slept almost through the night and awoke before any of the bad dreams could escalate to being all-out nightmares. I'm still working on quieting all the mindless chatter that goes on inside my head... but was able to give that to God, too, and go back to sleep without much tossing and turning.

My inbox has been flooded by encouraging emails from many friends. Keep those good vibrations headed this way.

I'll post something else when I know more.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

time changes and drags

We forgot to set our clocks back last night, which wasn't a huge deal because we had planned on sleeping. So it took us all morning to wander around the house and change all of the clocks. Except we forgot one-- you know, the one we always look to see what the time is. And two of three of our cell phones had completely different times. We ended up in a desperate call to Sister to see what time it really was, but she was looking at three different times, too.

We've cooked a lot this weekend. The Hater grilled fantastic steak Friday night. It was wonderful. I baked potatoes with them, but no matter how you season a potato-- it's not the same without butter, which I currently can't have. Saturday lunch we made chicken noodle soup, which was also really good. For supper last night we made turkey stir-fry served over broccoli. We ate leftover soup for lunch and The Hater has made briskett for supper. All this tasty eating is going to make the transtion back to work really hard.

The root soup, although better than just taking raw veggies to eat, is still awful. It's greenish, about the consistency of thin oatmeal, and looks about the same going in as it comes out. The people with whom I work think I must have balls of steel to eat it, but when you're hungry, you can eat just about anything. Just about-- I still have to give myself a big mental pep talk before I dig in.

The Hater had given me a gift certificate for an hour massage for our date-a-versary last month, and I cashed it in today. I checked all the labels to make sure it would be low iodine compatible. It was wonderful. I will get a massage EVERY TIME I'm off my meds from here on out. It was fantastic.

We have started pimping the prison again. New prison this time. I have a real bed instead of a futon that won't open all the way. I won't know how to act if I'm not sleeping on a hill. (That's a lie-- sleeping will be the least of my concerns.) We've moved the extra TV and DVD player, and The Hater says we'll get a long coaxle cable so that I can have tv to watch, too. He's thinking about letting me use his laptop while I"m in there. I've also got to put some playing cards and pick out some movies to have on hand.

This weekend has done me well. Although I'm feeling sicker, I've also been able to rest more. I feel as caught up as I possibly can be for another week.

Tomorrow morning = lab draw
Tuesday afternoon = see the MD (make plan for rest of the week)

We're taking it one minute at a time. And cheering for Peyton.

Friday, November 02, 2007

short fuse

I totally could have reenacted the scene from Office Space where Michael Bolton (not the musician) and his coworkers take the office fax machine out to a field to stomp on it and beat it to pieces with a baseball bat. I’ve been frustrated with technology before, but never to the point that I wanted so badly to pummel a piece of machinery as I wanted to completely obliterate the copy machine this morning.

It’s new to us, but not a new machine. I wanted to make a double-sided copy of a form that I’m using for work. I wanted it on blue paper. These things are usually not monumental requests… but this confangled copier kept getting choked on about every fourth good copy. Each choke required me to take its insides apart, throw three to five pieces of chewed up paper away, wait for it to restart, then repeat the process. After about the sixth time I decided to go somewhere else and use someone else’s machine. But even after I cleared the job and cancelled my project, the copier continued to spit out my copies and get choked on my project. I unplugged it, thinking a hard reset would erase its memory. Finally I apologized to the secretary and asked her to exorcize the copy machine while I went to another copier that finished my job in an appropriate amount of time without getting choked.

I literally had a vision of how nice it would be to run over the damn copier with a monster truck. I wanted to smash it with a sledge hammer. I wanted to melt it at 3,000 degrees Kelvin and watch it burst into flames. I wanted to break each blasted piece of its insides, throw them all into a box, and then call the Xerox guy to come put it back together. I wanted it to suffer a long, slow demise.

Typically I wouldn’t be so frustrated with an inanimate object, but you see, today is my 8th day without any thyroid supplementation. To say my fuse is short is an understatement, and the nice filter that usually sits between what I think and what I say is nonexistent. I’m hypo, and if I had the energy, kicking the copier would be my top priority.

That’s right, folks, it’s that time again. The Hater and I are eating Low Iodine food in preparation for another radioactive iodine treatment (RAI) next week to treat my thyroid cancer.

The plan is a lab draw Monday morning. Tuesday afternoon I’ll see the doctor, discuss the results, and will probably be told that we’ll have another RAI. I don’t know yet when that will take place, probably Wednesday or Thursday of next week. After the dose, I’ll spend 4 or 5 days in isolation (from The Hater and Zoloft and the rest of humanity) before I can return to the normal world and eat real people food, reinitiate taking my precious Synthroid, and start the slow road back to feeling human again.

Please keep us both in your prayers for the next few weeks. It’s going to get worse before it gets better, and we’ll need all the good vibes that we can get.

When I called home from college, complaining about classes and professors, Dad would always say that PapaLu would say that college is just one big endurance test. Jump through the hoops, keep your mouth shut, and you’ll get through it. ROTC Basic Camp at Ft Knox was as much a mental endurance test as it was physical.

And now, my third trip into what thyroid cancer survivors affectionately refer to as “hypo hell”, I’m struggling to tell myself that this is just another endurance test. The third time’s a charm. If I’ve done it twice already, this should be a breeze.

There’s nothing breezy about it, folks; the golden ring might as well be on Neptune. In other words, it really is true that everything we needed to know we learned in kindergarten: If it looks like poo and smells like poo, you don’t have to taste it to know it’s poo.

I’ll keep you updated as we learn more about the plans for next week. We’re also taking bets to see who has more stamina—- me or the copy machine.
In Other News Unrelated to Feeling Crappy
The mighty Lawrence County Wildcats play Tullahoma tonight and are favored to win. If LCHS wins this game, they will qualify for the playoffs... for the first time in more than 20 years.

It’s a home game, and you can bet a pretty nickel that I’ll be there in spirit. I may even get out my cowbell and ring it in honor of purple and gold football (even if it’s not *the* Cowbell Game). Go Team Go!

Monday, October 29, 2007

default: treat

We are ready. Bring on the tricksters.

The Hater wanted a scary jack-o-lantern.


Our friend wanted a sweet vampire. Of course she did-- look at that cutie she has at home!



We carved and gutted while she entertained the young'un. Next year will bring big time fun. Until then we'll feast on those pumpkin seeds ourselves. The real question-- will we still make a scary-o-lantern when we have one of those babies?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

kitty torture

When loving on Zoloft this weekend I noticed a new and different spot on her belly. There was a place that I didn’t remember having kitty freckles before. Monday I showed the place to The Hater, who also had not noticed it before.

Thus the decision was made to take Zoloft to the vet.

Let the games begin.

For those of you who have not heard our feline antics before, it’s important to understand that our cat is the textbook definition of a scaredy cat. She’s afraid of everything. She doesn’t like change or new things – and hates the outside and anything that is not part of her normal routine. She especially doesn’t like when we walk with purpose, even if we’re not walking towards her.

Her safe places in the house are under one of the beds or behind the toilet in the master bedroom.

So yesterday The Hater and I are home, trying to figure out if we can get the carrier out without spooking her. She was sleeping quietly on the bed, unaware that her day would soon get really gaggy.

In retrospect, maybe waking her up and immediately putting her into the carrier is the best way to go about it. She wasn’t really awake enough to fight us, and we had her zipped into safety before she even knew why she was no longer in her warm spot.

By the time we carried her to the car, our serenade started. Mreroooooorwr. Mrerooooorwr. Mrerooooorwr. Mrerooooorwr. Each cry became both louder and more pitiful than the last. She hates the carrier and the outside, and she was eager to voice her complaints. She didn’t stop until we got back home.

We took advantage of poor Zoloft and called home so that our parents could hear the baby crying. The Dorks felt very sorry for their grand-kitty.

Usually when we get out of the car and inside a building she calms down, but not so yesterday. She cried the entire time. She got the attention of every animal within earshot. I had to juggle the carrier so that the dogs never saw her. We thought that looking at the birds and rodents might interest her, but she was not in the mood to be entertained.

She continued crying when we took her out of the carrier. She jumped around for a little while in the small room, looking for a way out, but ended up curled in a ball in the sink. It was the only place she could hide, and she was pitiful.

It took three of us to hold her down for her exam, but she didn’t protest for her shots. The spots on her tummy are just spots, and everyone was happy, except for Zoloft, who would have rather been hiding behind the toilet.

She cried all the way back home. We expected her to run and hide once we got back home, but instead she followed us around. Somehow her fuzzy logic can’t put together that we were the cause of torment.

We made a conscious effort not to pick on her the rest of the night. We didn’t even play one of our usual ‘tease the kitty’ games. I set out the infant benadryl in case she had a reaction to her shots, but we didn’t need it.

This morning she was as normal as ever, prancing around and following us from room to room. Hopefully yesterday’s events have been deleted from her selective memory—at least long enough us to wrestle her into the carrier the next time we go on another outside adventure.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

great intentions

I was going to go out today and start grocery shopping for the low-Iodine diet that I start at the end of the week. I was going to get a massage (date-a-versary present from The Hater) and a pedicure. I was going to take advantage of him being away, and I was really going to paint the town red.

Trigger had other ideas. His oil is low, and I can't get the oil cap twisted off to add more. So we're homebound until The Hater returns with his super strength and manual dexterity.

Zoloft doesn't like that The Hater is gone. She woke me up at 8 this morning looking for love, demanding attention. And since I've been up, she's just calling out for me, although I'm in plain sight in the next room. She's all torn-up that he's gone, and I'm thinking we'll both be glad when he's back (as will Trigger).

We need a name for the house, but so far we've not come up with anything we like. So for now it's a bland "the house". Maybe if we pick a word in another langugae it'll make us sound sophisticated (goodness knows we're not, but we're smart enough to fake it!). I'll let you know if we come up with something serendipitious so you'll know what to cross-stich for our Christmas present.

It's a quiet day, a good day for Tetris since we're stuck inside. I've almost finished reading the book that's come out about Mother Teresa, "Come Be my Light". It's fantastic, albeit somewhat redundant at times.

All quiet on the midwestern front. Hope you're having a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

my first death threat

It's been a long day, and I'm tired.

This blog has been in existance to mark many firsts in my adult life, and now it's here to document my first official death threat.

I can't really say a lot about it except that it's being investigated and they have some leads. We're okay, and you can call us if you want the details. (Mom and Dad also have details, too.)

We're not excited. Sure, we had our moments of shock and surprise, but we're confidant now that the authorities will take care of everything. We have made weekend plans and we are moving on.

In the words of Sister, who could not have said it any better, "Why would someone threaten you? You're not that important."

Well said, Sister. Well said.

Friday, October 12, 2007

binging for a cause

They are cupcakes for a cause, and they have no calories! As if that wasn’t great enough… for every e-cupcake that is sent, CancerCare for Kids®, a program to help children affected by cancer, will receive $1 from a group of generous supporters – up to $10K.

I have had difficulties cutting and pasting my cupcake for you, but this is its link. Think you can do better? Prove it!

The CancerCare for Kids® program provides free support services including counseling, patient education, and financial assistance to children who are affected by cancer and their families. These services are provided nationwide by CancerCare's staff of professionally trained oncology social workers.

They also have programs for adult cancer survivors and lots of fantastic educational opportunities – from brochures to teleconferences. This really is a worthy cause, and it only costs you a little time.

Bake your e-cupcake today!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

selfish girl

All the people with whom I work have been taking mini-vacations the last several weeks. Even The Hater had a few days off last week for mental health days.

I’m so jealous that I can hardly stand it.

I wish that I didn’t have to hoard my accrued time for sick days. I would like to be able to take a real vacation – one that doesn’t revolve around cancer treatments or mandated holiday/wedding/birthday visits.

If time and money were not issues, I’d go away for at least two weeks. I’ve not indulged this fantasy to the point of knowing where I would go or what I would do, but I am certain that it would be wonderful.

It’s nice to be able to close your eyes and imagine being somewhere else, but sometimes there’s no substitute for the real thing. For now it’s my only option, and I’ve taken several trips today.

Monday, October 08, 2007

queen of sheba

This weekend The Hater and I celebrated our 8th date-a-versary.

Friday night The Hater grilled steak. It was cheap steak, but we thought that it would be okay if we marinated it. We were wrong. It was so tough that we could hardly saw through them. We ended up throwing them out and enjoying the baked potato as the solo dish. Then we watched a bad mummy movie that we had DVR’d in honor of our first date.

We played a lot of video games between loads of laundry on Saturday. We have online accounts with the Xbox, which means that we can play with people all over the world. I think that other people like when I’m playing because I’m an easy kill.

We also figured out how to link our system with our friends in Vegas, and then all four of us were able to play Bomberman into the wee small hours of the morning. We have headsets, too, so we were able to talk and carry-on during the games. It was great for us because it was like we were hanging out with our friends, without having to drive all day to see them.

Sunday night we decided to go on an adventure after my Bible study class was over. We went to “Queen of Sheba”, an Ethiopian restaurant in town. It was in a scary part of town, but once we were inside, we forgot that we were still in Oklahoma City. The décor and ambience were fantastic, and complete with a projector set-up with ethnic music and dance throughout our meal.

We weren’t entirely sure what to order, and ended up with a variety plate. The food is of an oatmeal consistency, and served with bread. The bread was thin like a crepe, but spongy like a pancake. You would tear a small piece of bread and scoop up the food to eat – there weren’t any utensils, so you had to make do with the bread. Some of the food was really spicy, but I was able to find some milder options on our tray. There was also an Ethiopian potato salad that was fantastic.

The service was great, and they were really patient to show us how to eat with the bread. The menu had explanations for everything, including lineage linking the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon. It was reasonably priced, and worth the trip. Let us know if you want to be different when you come to visit, and we’ll take you to Africa!

Picture (totally stolen, btw): The top is a potato and carrot dish, then clockwise, lamb, salad, lentils, beef, chickpeas, and green beans with a chicken dish (complete with two hard-boiled eggs) in the center. The bread is rolled-up in the plate above the platter.

In all, it was a fun, celebratory weekend. Even the Vols pitched in to make it memorable.

Friday, October 05, 2007

killing aliens

The Hater and I beat Halo 3 on normal mode earlier this week. We thought we'd play through again on the next level up, heroic, but we kept getting sniped and killed.

Who knew that aliens were such a good shot!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

shoot the moon

There are three things that Dad's family does well: turnip greens, sweet tea, and card games.

The cousins were not allowed to watch television at MamaLou and PapaLu’s house, unless PapaLu was already watching baseball (the Braves) or wrestling. If the weather was nice outside, the cousins were expected to go outside to play. If there was inclement weather outside, we would raid the toy closet.

The toy closet was a magical place behind an olive green door at the end of the shotgun hall. MamaLou tells stories that when PapaLu was building the house, she asked him to make the hall wider so that the kids would have a place to play. He did, and the next generation of cousins took advantage of the space (and many of the same toys) where our parents had played when they were younger. We had many options for board games in the toy closet. Although we played a lot of dominoes, Scrabble and Sorry, our favorite games were played with a deck of cards.

Playing cards was serious business in this family. I have many memories of watching my uncles and PapaLu play cards. All of the cousins wanted to play cards with the big kids, and we were taught how to play primer games at an early age. “Rat’s Tail” taught us how to follow suit. “Rummy” taught us how to plan tricks. “Doggone It” taught us how to bid on our hand. At the time these were just fun games, but we had no idea that we were being taught strategies for Spades, Hearts and Rook—the big kid games.

We picked up Spades first, and it’s still my favorite because I like to catch tricks. I can remember the cousins playing Spades around a card table in the living room while the big kids were playing cards in the other room or the “catch’em house” next door. The catch’em house was one of PapaLu’s rent houses that he turned into his shop. The old kitchen had a wood-burning stove, and the big kids would huddle around a card table next to the stove when they played serious card games. The cousins were never allowed to play in the catch’em house without the big kids’ supervision. (I think it’s called the “catch’em” house because it ended up catching everything that PapaLu would find for future projects. He would “get the idea” and bring something back to the catch’em house. Later, when it was incorporated into a project, he’d say he was “cooking with gas”.)

One Christmas Jerry was home and the cousins were playing Spades. He took our cards and told us that it was time we learned how to play Hearts. He explained the strategy and walked us through a few hands.

When the cousins played cards, the big kids would watch over our shoulders and coach us – tell us which cards to play when, how much to bid, and remind us of the rules. So even if it was technically a game of the cousins, the big kids always came around to help us.

This particular time I was looking at my hand, trying to decide how many to bid when Jerry pulled up a seat behind me and a whispered conversation took place:

Jerry: What are you doing?
Me: It’s my bid. How many should I say?
Jerry: Are you kidding? I’m going to teach you how to Shoot the Moon!

And we did! With Jerry’s coaching, we caught every single heart. The next hand was dealt.

Me: Can we do it again?
Jerry: No, but this time I’m going to teach you how to cheat!

And we did! And we got away with it!

Jerry would have argued that knowing how to cheat in a game is as important as knowing the game itself. Successful cheating is at the heart of all game strategy. Ask any of the cousins!


In Memory of Uncle Jerry
October 25, 1946 - August 14, 2007

Monday, October 01, 2007

me and my buddy, Peyton

Peyton and I have a lot in common.

1. Both of us are 4-0 in our game. His with the Colts, mine with a fantasy league. (Remember that we both won our first Super Bowl rings last year, which is supremely good mojo.)

2. Both of us will be cheering for our Vols to beat the Bulldogs on Saturday. (The Hater wants to add that this will be Phil Fulmer's chance to get off the hot seat.)

3. We're both brilliant at calling audibles.

4. He has a hospital named after him, and I work at a hospital.

5. Peyton endorsed Sprint telephones. I was actually a Sprint customer before Peyton signed that contract, so he actually came over to be with me on this one.

6. Peyton has trading cards. I have business cards!

7. Peyton has a degree in Speech Communication. I married someone with that same degree.

8. Peyton was nominated for the 2007 Teen Choice Awards as "Best Male Athlete". I can spell a-t-h-l-e-t-e.

9. Peyton hates the University of Alabama. I hate the University of Alabama.

10. And, finally-- Peyton and I both wish that Eli's career was going better than it is...
(and we're both glad that it's not as bad as Notre Dame, who is looking to start 0-8.)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

not so fair

The Hater and I have had our weekend claimed by other people. We didn't get in until after midnight Friday night. We were gone all day Saturday, returning around 9pm last night. Our plans were to sleep until never-thirty today, but that didn't work out, either. Between honey-dos and a crying kitty, it looks like Monday will be here before we know it.

We're not the only ones who have had a crazy weekend.

Mom's childhood friend fell from the top of a ferris wheel at the county fair Friday night. The party line reports she fell about 30 feet and got caught in the axle of the ride. It took the firemen an hour to free her with the ladder truck, at which point she was immediately life-flighted to Vandy. She had surgery on Saturday and the party line reports that she's doing well today, all things considered. Her son's wedding is in about two weeks, but there's no word if they're going to change the date or not.

My friend is on her way home today because her cousin has gone into labor at 32 weeks. There is talk about a possible c-section and questions about the baby's heart. But that's all we really know right now.

I'm thinking we aren't the only ones who would like a weekend do-over.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

hypo eve

Among the things that I need to do tomorrow, I need to call my endocrinologists's office and ask them to call me in some of the short-acting thyroid medication into my pharmacy. That's right, folks, it's time for the third verse! Friday I stop taking my Synthroid (long-acting thyroid medicine), and start taking Cytomel instead (the short-acting version).

I'll stay on the Cytomel for four weeks... until the booger hits... when I'm on no synthetic thyroid hormones at all and get to enjoy all of the perks of being hypthyroid. I'll be on nothing for two weeks, during which point The Hater and I will also blow the dust off of the Low Iodine cookbooks and go back to eating sticks and twigs.

This is all in preparation for a lab draw, specifically for Thyroglobulin (tumor marker). If the tumor marker comes back higher than we think it should be, I'll take another Radioactive Iodine treatment for the thyroid cancer.

If the tumor marker comes back zero, then I won't have to take a treatent at all. The difference between this possible treatment and the possible treatments in my past is that this one truly is dependant on the tumor marker. The magical "IF" has come into play, which really is a step in the right direction.

IF... the tumor marker is low, then I won't have to take a treatment.
IF... my scan next spring is negative, then we can try to concieve.

It's nice to be at a point where the illusion of choices are present. Instead of choices that automatically end in surgery or mandated treatments, everything is now dependant on scans and labs.

Although it really is good news, it doesn't change the fact that I'm not looking forward to being pitiful or feeling like a zombie for a couple of months. It's been long enough since the last time that I did this that I don't entirely remember exactly how crappy I felt. I think that's a pretty nifty defense mechanism...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

boom boom in the bedroom

This post has been rated PG: Parental Guidence Suggested. Some material may not be suited for children.

It all started when we moved into the house and bought a king size bed.

It wasn't long after that before we realized that we needed more bedding than we already owned. Fortunately for us, we had been given a boatload of pillows as wedding presents. Ta-da. So we bought two pillow shams to kindof match the comforter. Except we realized that two pillows looked lost on the bed; we neeed three to go across the headboard. When we returned to the department store to purchase the third sham, we noticed how nice the fake beds looked with Euro Shams.

Off to another discount department store to purchase these fancy square pillows at rock-bottom prices. It was successful, but these three euro pillows have lived in the spare closet for three months because we've had problems finding the shams to cover them. Oh, we've found some that we liked, but we're just not willing to pay $100 for one pillowcase.

We're crazy like that.

The other problem was that we couldn't find a color that we liked. This would have all been remedied if we had purchased a bed set from a department store, but we're too cheap to do that. We found a green faux down comforter on a crazy sale, and went from there to find the shams (in a springy plaid) on sale, too. Once we decided to have an adult bed with pillows and such I asked for special permission to bring in a little pink into the bedroom. The Hater agreed to make me happy, and after I explained that the pink would only peek out behind the plaid shams that he picked out.

The problem is that most of the things this spring and this summer was based in pink with brown shams, and I wanted pink shams. I was hoping that this fall (when the browns came back into style) I would be able to find these pink shams... and that we wouldn't have to pay beaucoup for them.

Everytime we go to the mall I walk through the department store bedding section. I've even enlisted the helpful eye of our best friends to widen the search. I had just about decided that I would have to come up with something else. Until Monday, when my friend called to tell me she saw dusty pink euro shams at a certain supercenter for $10 a pop.

The Hater and I were out picking up laundry, so we swung by and found exactly what we were looking for... and while we were there I picked up a red king-size fitted sheet, too. I wanted to cover the box springs, which peek out between the mattress and the bed frame.

Some day we're going to have a put-together house, including a bedroom that looks like it could be in the penny-pincher Pottery Barn. Our plans were to turn the mattress this weekend, so we thought we'd do it up then.

And what does this have to do with the price of tea in China? (This is where the story gets good.)

Last night (at about 3:30am) the new bed BROKE. Two of the three slats that held up the boxsprigs broke over the center brace.* The boxsprings and mattress fell to the floor and we fell with it, waking up violently from sweet sleep. We rolled out of bed and quickly realized what had happened.

We wandered into the second bedroom and made that bed so that we could go to sleep again. We'd only laid there about a minute before we decided we should probably go pull the mattress and box springs up out of the floor because we didn't want the weight to break the bed frame, too. It was a comedy of errors because neither of us were awake and the foam mattress was heavy as a mug.

When we were finally ready to go back to sleep again the cat, who at this point had been running in circles around the house, wanted us to know that she was not a fan of all of these noisy shenannigans. She hollered and cried for the next two hours, unconsolable, pitiful, and certainly unhappy that her hiding place had been revealed. (If she had been under the bed when we fell, this would have been an entirely different post.) She stopped crying and went back to crazy-circle-running after our alarm went off.

So this morning at about 6:15 I called home to seek advice from Mom and Dad before I had to go to work. I was measuring the length of 1"x3"s that we'd need to put Humpty Dumpty back together. We had thought we'd get two (8") braces to support each board instead of just one because it was the one center brace that the boards split over. It made total sense to us, even if it was an overkill.

After work this evening The Hater returned to the house with new slats and braces. ($35 from the chain hardware store) We spent the next hour and a half drilling holes, screwing scews**, and reinventing the wheel. We now have 6 double-supported slats under the bed.

This was a fantastic opportunity to go ahead and put the red fitted sheet over the newly braced boxsprings. It looks really good, and once the sheets get out of the dryer we'll know exactly how thrifty chic our bedroom has become.

But I am a little nervous about going to bed tonight.

* "Boom! Boom!" was the sounds that woke us up as each slat broke and we fell to the floor.
** An electric screwdriver is now on our Parkes Peanut list. Pass the word.

Monday, September 17, 2007

for the sake of research

Oh, those silly things we do for the sake of curing cancer...

We had major electrical problems this morning. It's always bad mojo when that happens and you're at a hospital. The really important places don't notice because they have generators. But I'm no longer in a "really important" place, so we were stuck in the dark.

Stuck in the dark with hundreds of vials of frozen blood. Study blood that lives in the study freezer... you know, the freezer that keeps everything -80 degrees F. The freezer that wasn't connected to an emergency generator. Enter "Bad Mojo", stage left. Cue dramatic music. Cue panic level orange.

The idea behind this research study is to collect blood (and freeze and send it off) to a lab that is in the process of developing a blood test to detect a certain type of cancer. A similar version of this relatively inexpensive test already exists for prostate cancer; it's called a PSA. The plan is to develop a blood test for people as the first level of cancer detection, then the people with eleveated tests would be the people you point to getting further diagnostic studies. They're probably still years away from developing that test, and then further years away from it being considered a standard of cancer care, but medical research has never been a fast process.

It's exciting, cutting-edge stuff in the oncology community and really has the potential to impact the future of millions of cancer survivors... so it was no small potatoes that the special freezer was on the fritz.

My vote was that we not panic. I was outvoted.

My vote was that we just leave them in the freezer, which would still be kept colder than if we took them outside and transported them to another place. I figured it was like being at home when the fridge went out and mama said that stuff wouldn't spoil so long as we didn't open the door. I was the only one who figured that and was again outvoted.

So we hand-carried hundreds of frozen vials across the street (in 90+ degree weather)... Our first stop was to the twin -80 freezer that was connected to a generator. There were more vials than we could carry in one trip, so we put the first set of vials inside and shut the door. When we returned with the second set of vials we found that the safety on the freezer was to automatically close if it got too hot (which was apparently -60 degrees F).

Enter Bad Mojo's cousin, "Super Bad Mojo", stage right. Cue panic level red. Cue six people in the office making frantic phone calls to figure out where we can put the other half of the vials as they are obviously no longer -80 degrees.

We ended up literally RUNNING them down the hall to a place that had dry ice. We had just finished packing them when I received a phone call on my cell... telling me that the electricity had been fixed.

This whole scenario took place in a time span of about an hour. Looks like Mama would have been right again.

We waited until after lunch to rummage all of the tubes back into the trunk of a car and return them to their proper home. We could be bitter, but two really good things came out of today. The obvious first, we protected the very vials that may one day be the pivotal samples that secure FDA approval.

Second, according to my pedometer I hit 10,000 steps before lunch. That means I don't have to walk tonight, which makes the whole fire drill worth the effort.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

visit to Germany (minus the jetlag)

By Germay we mean "Old Germany Restaurant". We decided to be spontaneous yesterday and ended up in Choctaw, immersed in all things German. We decided we didn't want to brave the crowds for Oktoberfest, so we made the trip in honor of an early celebration.

We entered the restaurant and immediately knew that this would be a fun experience. Perky German music was playing (some song about a girl named Heidi), and we were met with a huge collection of steins. The wood tables and chairs, not to mention the decor, sang of old world charm. The wait staff wore Bavarian dresses, complete with the lace-up bodice. If we hadn't seen OU/OSU posters in the back of the kitchen, we might have thought that we were no longer in Uglyhoma.

Neither of us have ever eaten authentic German food prior to last night. I remembered being grossed out by sauerkraut served at elementary school on pale green trays. The Hater had some bad canned sauerkraut memories. So, needless to say, it took us a while studying the menu before we were ready to order. There were lots of choices and fewer things that we could pronounce.

We were impressed with the binder of all the different types of alcohol they had; we've never been to a restaurant with a list that long. Because of the immersion experience, we both decided to have beer with our meal. ('when in Rome' and all...) The Hater had a really dark German beer that we couldn't pronounce. I had a house-brewed amber beer. They brought us huge glasses (0.5 L). The Hater, who isn't a beer drinker, was slowly pulled to the dark side (pun intended).

The Hater ordered schnitzel with cream sauce and potato dumplings. He said the beef was good and cooked well, and the peppercorn sauce grew on him by the time he finished the meal. The potato dumplings were more potato than dumpling, very dry, and a unique culinary experience that he would not choose again.

I ordered a steak with special herbal butter on top. My potato side dish was spatzle, a homemade egg noodle pasta thing. It was okay, but nothing really fancy. If we ever go back I would probably get something else.

We had high hopes for dessert, but quickly learned that the German restaurant orders its desserts from a French restaurant in town. So we had a piece of apple strudel cheesecake, which at least sounded German.

This was a really expensive experience. We very rarely spend that kind of money on a meal. We didn't know how pricy the menu was until we had already been seated... and by that point we thought we'd go ahead and continue our spontaneous immersion. We would go back if someone was visiting and was hankering German food -- or if someone else picked up the tab.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

wipeout

I fell last night.

In my head I was thinking it would only be a matter of time before I slid on the hardwood floors. I've even tried to be more cognizant of the threat and have kept on my shoes until the end of the day, the very end when I actually get into bed. I've tried to slow down around the corners and have resolved to myself that it's okay if I don't answer the phone while it's ringing. It's better to return a call promptly than to return it later because I was busy with ice packs after I hurried and fell.

This comes from a knowledgable, not-so-graceful past. I fell so many times at home that Mom and Dad quit coming to check on me when I fell. Even Sister would holler from the other side of the house, "You okay?" Yeah. Just thought I'd take a close look at how well we've been dusting. Don't worry, I'm fine. Just a bruised ego.

One of my best falls happened while I was at Ft Knox one summer at basic camp. The Army really liked to punish the entire platoon for one individual's mistakes. (I'm not sure how that teaches teamwork or leadership, but it sure did a lot for my push-up percentage.) Anyway, if one person was late for any formation, the rest of the platoon would "half turn to the left" and start doing push-ups. The DS would yell, "Down!" We'd go to the ground and yell, "Hurry the hell up!" The DS would yell, "Up!" We'd push and yell, "We're waiting on you!" So the poor person inside would hear us yelling, know we were doing push-ups because they were tardy, and then later we'd sit in the friendship circle and sing Kumbaya while we talked about our feelings.

Well, one night we were dismissed early, and a bunch of us took advantage of the opportunity to take a long shower. A long communal shower, mind you, but a long shower all the same. In the middle of my shower people start screaming because the DSes called a formation. I was soapy sudsy, drenching wet, and I wrapped up in a towel, grabbed my shower caddy, and ran back to the barracks. My second greatest fear was for the platoon to have to do push-ups because I was late to a formation. I ran in wet flip-flops on a tile floor, slipped, fell spread-eagle and watched my contents of my caddy slide under a dozen bunk beds. The man I feared most (Drill Sergent Goodnite) appeared out of nowhere and jerked me up by my arm, asking me if I was okay. "Please don't make them do push-ups because I'm late!", was my answer. I could have had compound fractures, busted my head open, and knocked out teeth, but my answer was, "If you want me to do push-ups, I will, but please don't make everybody do them." He asked again if I was okay, surprised at my answer. He instructed me to hurry safely and put my clothes on before I joined formation. I did in about two minutes, relieved only that I wasn't being told, "Hurry the hell up -- we're waiting on you!"*

Last night I was being so careful. I was walking slowly. I was watching where I was going. I was even still wearing my shoes.

I fell. The Hater ran immediately to my aid. To his credit, he checked on my to see if I was okay before laughing at me. And he helped me up, too. He even bragged on me for trying to be safe and still having my shoes on. And although I carried on last night, I don't even have a little bruise to show for my agile exploits.

And the moral of this story? Sometimes you can do all the right things and crap still happens.

* One of the last days of basic camp I was sitting outside shining my boots on the steps. DS Goodnite came up behind me to brag on my method. Dad had taught me to set the polish on fire for a few seconds before putting it out and spreading it on the boots to get a smooth shine. DS Goodnite said that's how he shined his shoes and wondered where I had learned that trick. It was drizzling outside and we talked like real people, not like a peon terrorized by a hard-core DS. We talked about Vietnam and home. And after we had been talking for a little while he stopped and looked at me, saying, "Are you sure you were in my platoon?" I kept polishing, "Yes, DS Goodnite. I'm in 4th squad." He shook his head, "I just don't remember you." I smiled, "No offense, DS Goodnite, but I've worked really hard to keep it that way." He smiled and nodded before going back inside.

And the moral of the post script? If you happen to be an idiot in front of people, try to do it in a way where they won't remember it was you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9-1-1

I knew a guy in college whose birthday was September 11th. When I first learned of this I thought, wow, that will be easy to remember because he used to be an EMT. (Get it? 9-1-1 !) I thought of all the birthdays, 9/11 was probably in the top ten coolest to have. Among other things, it's not so close to a major holiday that you get hosed on birthday wishes.

I can't remember his name for the life of me, but I remember that his birthday was 9/11.

After the initial week of shock after the towers fell and we were all glued to the news broadcasts (looking away only when they would repeatedly show the scenes of people jumping), I realized that all the 9/11 tragedy made me forget my friend's birthday. We weren't close, but the 9-1-1 memory aid really made an impression on me.

I called him up with belated birthday wishes. I wasn't really sure what to say. I asked how his day was, but he said it was a real bummer that everything happened on his birthday. He said that he had made plans, but they stayed home to watch the news instead. I told him the story about why I will always remember his birthday - now more than ever, but I would remember it first as being 9-1-1, not 9/11. He said he doubted that he would ever be able to enjoy his birthday again - and he said it in a way that people say things in the movies, lacking only a cue of background forshadowing music.

Today is another anniversary for the survivors of those who lost friends and family in the terrorist attacks. This day deserves to be remembered and honored for their needless deaths. The rescue workers need to be honored (and given the best of medical care for their health problems they have acquired because of working at Ground Zero). This country needs to be honored for pulling up their boot straps and working together, for donating money, blood, prayers and their time during a dark hour of need.

These things are important to remember and protect, but the show must go on. Those of us who remember need to tell all of the stories. We need to take the batton and run with it.

I'm making a conscious effort today to send birthday vibes to my friend, Mike. I hope you're having a fantatic day and that you are able to celebrate with those you love with a blind abandon. I hope you're doing well and seizing every moment for it's full potential. I hope you have lots of cake and ice cream or beer and pizza, that you get your fill of whatever gluttonous celebration you choose tonight.

And, honestly, from the bottom of my heart, I hope you're making progress putting the 9-1-1 back into 9/11. Today my heart goes out to you and everyone else celebrating a special anniversary.

Friday, September 07, 2007

special helper

A certain furry companion is being absolutely precious tonight. Somehow she knows when The Hater is out of town... and it's those times when she turns into sweet cat. My anti-lap cat has sat beside me all night, following me like a puppy from room to room.

I think she knows that my only goal this weekend is to clock as many hours sleeping as humanly possible. My humble attempts will no doubt pale in comparison to her olympic sleeping marathons, but I have good intentions to try.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

saffron

We have discovered cooking shows on tv. Which means we've also been trying out lots of different kinds of recipes that Nana never made. Some turn out okay, some are duds, but all are learning experiences.


A few weeks ago we saw a chef on Bravo's "Top Chef" make "Bacon-wrapped Shrimp", Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with Grilled Corn & White Cheddar Cheese Grits. The Hater loved the idea of shrimp and bacon; I loved the idea of anything served with grits. So Monday we got everything together and came up with a big mess... a big tasty mess. I'm not a shrimp person, but my piece was really good. The Hater was excited that we had left-overs.

We've also been cooking with our new tajine after we saw someone cook with one on the Food Network. I don't remember the chef or the show, but the premise is that he goes around the world and eats awful things that would make Americans cringe. He eats some wild stuff, most of which we would never intentionally recreate in the kitchen. But on one episode he ate some kind of organ stew out of a tajine, but talked about how you could cook regular food in one, too. We had never seen one before and were intrigued-- so much so that The Hater picked one out for his birthday. We've probably cooked with it 4 or 5 times since then, and each time has been a success with easy clean-up. Last night we had another easy tajine dinner -- and The Hater has taken its leftovers to work.

We do not claim to be foodies. Serious chefs would die if they knew that we paired everything with whichever box of wine is open (or The Beast if we've recently had beer dogs). But we are so proud to have a kitchen where we can both work at the same time, and we like cooking for our friends. In my world that's more important than the most refined palate, at least on the days that we don't nuke a frozen pizza.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

preseason predictions

The Hater would like to announce his XLII Super Bowl prediction:

The AFC champions will be the New England Patriots and the NFC champions will be the New Orleans Saints... and the winner of the 2008 Super Bowl to be held in Arizona will be the Patriots, again.

The Titans are currently on year two of the "Five Year Super Bowl Plan". Vince is progressing nicely, and the rest of the team is steadily making improvements. We're hoping for much larger improvements after this season. Our prediction for this season is the same as last season - that they'll go 8 and 8.

Peyton will make the playoffs because he's the bombdotcom. Unfortunately, The Hater thinks they'll lose the second round of the playoff.

The Hater also predicts our Vols will have 4-5 losses this season. That includes our last loss to Cal. (I asked if it would be 4 losses or 5 losses, and he said, "I don't know. I can't tell you now." I don't know if that's because he was concentrating on beating the video game or if the Magic 8 Ball in his head kept reading "Ask again later.")

There you have it. You can't beat free advice. Approach the Sports Book with faith -- and without your entire roll.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

it's that time of year again

We're so excited about football season that we're going to a high school game tonight. We're going to be rooting for the home team, so it shoud be fun. It's the first game of the season, so we're hoping to see a lot of energy and some exciting plays.

Obviously this weekend we'll be watching the Vols play. We're excited that we'll be getting it, so we absolutely have to watch it. It's the first Vol game in the new house, which means we'll be able to blast Rocky Top as loud as we want without worrying about the neighbors.

And we can, too, because I have it on my Ipod.

We've been playing the Madden football video game almost every night. We've drafted a team and The Hater calls plays and is the QB. I like to be the RB (Stephen Jackson, who is the bombdotcom) or WR (Wes Welker, who never drops the ball). For defense, The Hater switches around to different players, but I always play DE (Jared Allen, who is so good that I have to be at least double-teamed to keep me from sacking the QB). Our record is 8-2 (the first game we lost by 30 points and the other game we lost by one point).

The Hater wants to point out that we were still learning how to use the controls on the game we lost by 30+ points. It was brutal... we had about a dozen turnovers that game.

We hope the real Titans don't have as hard of a time during the real season as we've had with the game. (Although we sure wouldn't complain about an 8-2 record!)

The parts of our yard where grass is growing is starting to look like a jungle. We'll have to mow and trim between all of the exciting games. If we get really adventurous we'll stain the rest of the fence, too.

But we have to keep our priorities in line - it is, after all, football time in Tennessee.

Orange you a Vol?

Monday, August 27, 2007

we have a laptop

... but I'm not allowed to play on it yet.

The Hater is "fixing" it, which means that he's told it to do something (and now we're waiting for it to do it). Maybe I'll get to play with it after the new has worn off... You know, maybe after Christmas.

He'll say, "You could have played with it tongiht, except that it was downloading yadda yadda yadda."

Meanwhile, Zoloft has climbed behind me in her new favorite seat in the house -- between whoever is sitting at the desk and their chair. So much for the scardey cat... apparently sitting behind us isn't as scary as sitting in our laps.

Friday, August 24, 2007

this day in history


Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a big day in history. This post is about a Republican, AND there will be no finger pointing or name calling. Fred Thompson is a good 'ole boy from LBG, and he's bringing the press home.

In an article run on August 20th in the Los Angelas Times, whispers are getting louder about Fred running for Republican nomination for President in 2008. Talk about small town boy makin' it big in the city...

But Fred isn't exactly "small town"... He may have graduated with people in my family at the same high school where I later graduated, but he's been around. He's not called LBG home since the 60s.

That sure doesn't keep us from calling him one of our own. Every time I see him acting I tell The Hater, "That's Fred. He's from LBG. We met once; I know him." In his famous Acting Career you'll see that he was even nominated for "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series" for the Screen Actors Guild Awards. As an aside, Fred pales in comparison to the 4 awards won by Ronald Regan , including a Golden Boot, Golden Globe, a star on the walk of fame, and the Razzie "Worst Career Achievement Award".



It's really going to gag my parents when I call them this weekend and ask them to pick me up some of the "Ready for Freddie" paraphernalia on the square. But come on, we met once; I know him!

I have no idea if Fred will declare, what his platform will be, or what his chances are of getting the Republican nomination for President. I can't say that I'll carry his flag - because I'll end up pointing out the idiocy of whoever is elected. But I am hopeful:

* that he'll make an effort to get some much needed press and people to LBG-- at least that he'll do a better job doing this than when he was Senator

* that anything would be better than status quo

* that despite all of the political mumbo-jumbo, people who run for President really want to do the right thing to bring peace to the world

* that there is an element of magic to the rigamaroll that I don't always understand (see post titled "green shag carpet")

Fred, party affiliation aside, I'm tickled pink that you're considering taking on such a massive, important responsibility. Remember your humble beginnings, values and moral obligations that I know you learned while growing up in small town Lawrenceburg. Please make us proud to say that we know you.


HT: Vol Abroad

Thursday, August 23, 2007

bein' bad

We've been bad about remembering to post this week, but we have some colorful reasons why:

1. The Hater had to get ready for another year. We cleaned his office with some cleaner he found at the $ store. It ended up taking the hide off of both his and my right hands. The Hater learned how to exfoliate. It was good times with dry, scaly hands. Seriously, it looked like old people skin. But we're back to normal now. Next year we will use gloves.

2. Sister's wedding pictures... Still a fiasco! My extra time has been spent working on the photo album for her. I'm using the BookSmart program, which gags me about every other day. But it looks better than the iPhoto Mac program, so I'm trying to lump it. I hope to have it finished by this weekend, so then Sister can look online at how fancy it turned out to be. We'll also be able to order them, etc.

3. Work has been crazy for both of us. So when we come home, we want to avoid the computer.

4. Zoloft has been extra pitiful and needy for attention and love.

Meanwhile, Uglyhoma has had a really wet year. That alone isn't the newsflash... but we've had 42+ inches of rain this year. It's #10 in the top ten wettest years since they've been keeping track of it. They expect we'll be in the number 4 or 5 slot by the end of the year, especially if it keeps raining as much as it has been.

We're expecting more this weekend.

This makes our next big project more difficult: doing the stain/water sealant on the fence in the back yard. So that project may not get started for a while. We've got plenty of other things that need to do be done, anyhow. (Like paying attention to the boxes we've been ignoring for a month!)