Saturday, January 31, 2009

Yak tracks are very cool

These are yak tracks. http://www.rei.com/product/760280 For $20 you can walk on ice and snow and not fall on your butt. Totally worth it.

Aggravation and the return of brain cells and other things

Yesterday, call me slow, I received an appointment list in the mail from the hospital giving a list of my upcoming (and last week's) appointments. I thought about it and realized that my physical with my primary care physician had disappeared from the list. I checked and realized it disappeared from the appointment sheet probably in December - and I never noticed until now. So maybe I am slow.

Anyway, I called and was told yes your appointment was canceled due to a scheduling change by the doctor. I can understand this. These things happen. What I don't get is the following:

- They never rescheduled the appointment. They told me they only deal with cancellations about a month or two before they were supposed to occur.
- The doctor is booked until August and they can't schedule August appointments until Monday because that is February and they book six months out.
- So, if they didn't deal with my cancellation until March - the month before - would they be rescheduling me for September?

I tried to communicate this to the woman on the phone and she said 'dont shoot me, I'm only the messenger. They (the doctors) change their schedules and we (the phone people) take the heat for this.' Well that helped a lot. Of course you take the heat if you don't reschedule people for cancellations when they happen. Anyway, I got a few hours of sleep on Thursday night so I was nice and aggravated and very 'pleasant' on the phone. Monday I will call back and sort it out.

In the meantime, last August I reported losing all kinds of things and they have been reappearing. The missing down comforter was at the cleaners under someone else's name, the missing hydration pack was in the basement, and my missing yak traks were hidden in the closet and I found them yesterday. This is very important as locally, we are living on a glacier with glare ice everywhere. If only I could find my brain cells. Then I would be happy.

Today I am off to be educated on how to be a good volunteer for the American Cancer Society in a three hour training session this morning. Actually I think it will be interesting. But I could have slept late today. Perhaps crabbiness will reappear. These days my husband is quick to point out the return of the crabbiness. My back only hurt a little last night so I did sleep a fair amount which helps this situation.

A friend is also coming over for a walk on the bike path which was plowed after the last storm. But then it rained and froze and the portions of it in the shade are skating rinks. Yesterday I tried walking and nothing like water on top of ice to make things interesting. This made me determined to find the yak traks. Brain cells, where are you?

Friday, January 30, 2009

I Think Technology is Winning

A few weeks ago a friend sent a bunch of us an email. I got my other friends' reply to it before I received the original one. Last week, another friend sent an email, which I never received. Then just the other day, another friend sent me an email that showed up a couple of hours later. Even though other emails she sent me arrived in a timely manner. What does this tell me? Either there is a giant conspiracy against me and I need to develop a massive insecurity complex so I can deal with it? Or technology simply surpasses my understanding? Or there are some really slow servers out there? Or that the email is no greater a means of communication than a phone message or a fax - where you never really are sure they get there but assume they make it?

Personally, I think I shall develop the insecurity complex for now. Its better than thinking about health issues and back pain which kept me up most of last night. The back pain kept me up, not thinking about health issues. Eventually I gave up and took a pill. I am trying not to take the pills every day. However in the interest of crabbiness prevention and marriage preservation, I do take them when I can't sleep.

However the question of the day? Does this little Lego man in any way resemble the former governor of IL? Please note the hair style similarity. I read this somewhere online in the media coverage of the impeachment circus that the hairstyles are very similar. I do have to agree.

Anyway, in addition to developing an insecurity complex, I have been busy because I overscheduled myself. Yesterday I met a friend for coffee, met another friend for a walk, and went to work. Today I am doing work from home, getting a manicure, meeting another friend for coffee, going for a walk, doing more work from home, and then going to work. (I need a vacation!) This is getting stressful. In case you were concerned, this is what I get for coffee where ever I go: a medium or large decaf with skim milk. I don't use the fancy names, even at the trendy coffee chains, I just order a decaf in medium or large. I do admit to adding nutmeg and cinnamon to my coffee once in a while but have successfully ended my previous addiction to lattes.

Yesterday I finally set up my physical therapy. I will begin a week from Monday, the day after we return from our snow shoeing adventure in the Adirondacks. I am sure I will have lots of aches and pains (and general whininess) t share with the physical therapist. In the meantime, I will just be patient for another week before it starts. Actually I was thinking about it. I called the doctor on December 22 while I was away. They fit me in on the 30th. I couldn't get in sooner because we were away. I saw the specialist on the 20th. They offered to have me come in and see the nurse practitioner earlier but I opted to wait to see the doctor. Then I had an MRI on the 26th and a follow up on the 27th and physical therapy begins Feb 9th. That's not that bad a time frame because I opted for the delays. However, I am still working on being a patient patient. Someday perhaps I will perfect this but in the meantime I can be crabby and whiny.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Was Very Daring

Well, I was very daring for me. I can be a chicken. Yesterday it was VERY snowy (and then it turned to rain and froze so today its just plain ice) and I wanted to get some exercise so I walked to the gym. I have to note I have been lazy recently and driven the 0.1 miles to the gym several times. Since it was blizzarding, I didn't want to drive so I walked in the snow the whole distance. Then I actually used the machines at the gym. This was brave and daring because what if it made my back hurt? Well, I have meds for that now so I am less concerned.

In talking to the doctor about how my core muscles are probably weak and that is causing the back pain now, I started thinking (something I should never do according to my husband). In the past two years, every time I had surgery I would stop working out and just walk so perhaps this is why my 'core' is weak and my back hurts. Last summer at the gym, they rearranged the machines in the women's gym when they put in new carpeting so I changed my little circuit from four machines to three machines because they put one on the other side of the room and I was lazy. The machine I was omitting was the one for lower back. I thought perhaps I should return to my normal pre-surgery work out and see how that goes. So I was brave and daring and used all four machines and then waited for my back to start hurting. I figured the worst it could do was start hurting like any other day. It didn't! Yippee. (But now it does because I picked up the crock pot with the chili in it.)

My goal now is to go to the gym three times a week and do the little circuit of the four machines. Well, that is my plan but I can't go today because I dont have time and I don't want to work out two days in a row. I might be able to go tomorrow but am not sure. I can go Saturday and Sunday but that would be two days in a row. Monday yes, Tuesday, no, Wednesday, no. Thursday through Sunday we are away. Okay, so yesterday, Saturday, Monday, and then we'll see.

So yesterday we had this big storm of nastiness all day long and today is the chili contest at my husband's office. We (and I mean both of us - I browned the meat while he shoveled snow and then he did all the rest including chopping onions) made chili. He now has it in a big container and will put it in the crockpot when he gets to work to simmer all morning. There are eleven entries into the contest, too bad he works on a military base and I can't stop by to try some of the others!

Today I have a busy day. Who me? Overscheduled? Impossible! I have to write a press release for volunteer work, meet a friend for coffee, meet another friend for a walk, and go to work at 1pm. Can I fit everything in? Maybe, maybe not.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

No, yes, probably not, but...

Don't you love doctors? How about a solid answer with no ifs, ands or buts?

- My first visit for my back was - no, nothing there, its fine but see a specialist.
- My first visit to the specialist was - yes, stress fracture but an MRI to confirm.
- Then yesterday back to the specialist - was probably not a stress fracture but the radiologist hasn't read the MRI yet so there could be further news and by the way you have two degenerating disks in your back.

So, here I am with two degenerating disks in my back and pain meds and anti inflammatory meds and the doctor will call me if they find anything else in my MRI. I will also go to PT for six weeks for 'core strengthening'. IF all that doesn't work, I get to have a cortisone injection in my spine. (YUCKY!!!) But this could all result in no improvement. Surgery doesn't cure degenerating disks. I really hate it when the doctors use the word BUT. It should be banned from their vocabulary when they go to medical school. Don't say 'try this but it may not work' or 'but you may experience continued discomfort'. Grrr, grrr, grrr!!

Yesterday by the time I got home I was very tired and cranky and was accused of being in a snit. I didn't get nearly enough sleep the night before and my back was very sore by the time I got home. I did the best thing possible and went to bed early. Today it is snowing out so I am not going to work. I will do some work from home but not much. I will also go to the gym and possibly a meeting later on. Walter took the day off so he wouldn't have to deal with the snow. So I will supervise his snow shoveling again. The cat is all confused because we slept late and did not focus our lives on him instantly upon arising.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More fun than I deserved to have

So a little before 10pm last night, I set off on my big adventure: to Lahey for an MRI. The MRIs take place in the little building far, far, far away from the big building. But to make sure you get your exercise (doctors always want you to get more exercise - just like dentists always want you to floss), you have to park in the giant parking garage and walk all the way through the main building over to the little building. One of the few benefits of having such a late appointment, is that I had my choice of parking spaces right by the door.

I arrived, filled in the paperwork, reported that I have no shrapnel in my body (they always need to know this for MRIs) and sat down with a relatively recent copy of Family Circle magazine to read. As it was a tropical 12 degrees when I left my house, I chose to wear my Nanook of the North giant down parka. they finally called me and had me get changed into a Dr. Seymour Butz johnny and pajama pants and had me stick all my belongings in a little bitty locker. I almost opted for a second locker just for my coat but by exerting lots of energy, I managed to squish it in to one locker (remember down is very compressible). Then I sat down to wait again in the next waiting room. Finally they call my name. And the fun began.

First of all, it turns out spinal MRI's are done with the patient's head all the way into the machine. Most of my other MRI's have been feet first so its a good thing I have no claustrophobic tendencies. Then I get the good news. It will only take about 45 minutes. I was over joyed. 45 minutes in a giant test tube. With ear plugs because its loud. How to spend some quality time. I did ask about how soon my results would be ready and say that I have an appointment at 1030 am today to get the results. The nurse seemed a little surprised about this time frame but I said that is what was scheduled. I will be a bit perturbed if I get to my appointment and don't get the results.

So they slide me all the way into the machine and begin the MRI. How to pass the time? I can't see a watch (mental note to self for next MRI ask them to tell you the time in 15 minute increments so you have some idea of how long it has been). I know, I'll just count my breaths and I should have some idea of how long I have been in. So I start counting... one, two, three... Then I start wondering so how many times does a normal person breathe each minute? I have no idea. 15, 16, 17... So how high do I think I will get to before the end of the test... 30, 31, 32, no that's wrong, 25, 26, 27... I am having problems thinking and counting at the same time (its a good thing I wasn't chewing gum as well!) 41, 42, 43... What my neck starts itching!!! AND I CAN'T SCRATCH IT! 50, 51, 52, 53... So how many times do I breathe each minute? 75, 76, 77... Hot flash! I can't believe it! And I'm stuck in here! 92, 93, 94... No that's wrong, 82, 83, 84... I can't keep count. Rats. Where am I? Maybe around 100. Okay, I'll restart there....

Then I started to zone out and really had problems counting and my neck really started itching. 110, 111, 112...But wait I need to move my leg. I really, really, really, really need to move my feet around a little bit. But I can't. I have to stay still! 135, 136, 137... Then I think I dozed off a little bit! They must have known because all of a sudden I hear "WAH-WAH" - think teacher in Charlie Brown cartoons. I have no idea what she said but the table slid down a little bit. Maybe getting close to the end? Then it slid a little more and a little more. Finally, I was done.
I said 'I think I actually dozed off in there'. The nurse said 'I just wanted to tell you the table was going to move'. Well, it did cut in to my nap time but I guess she meant well.

I arrived home just as the clock was chiming midnight. Of course I had to relax a little before going to bed so I watched a little Letterman and then went to bed. Needless to say when the alarm went off this morning, I did not hear it but eventually I woke up. However, I did not get enough sleep. This could lead to general crabbiness later one. Which could be further exacerbated by doctor news later this morning.

Anyway, I am taking my tired body off to the treadmill this morning at the gym. I think a little exercise might help me out. Also, it might relieve a little stress but currently I feel too tired to be stressed. Coffee shall be the beverage of the day. After the doctor, I will go to work and my support group. Then perhaps a predinner nap will be required...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

And it gives me something to think about besides my back. I was discussing this with a friend yesterday. In case you hadn't heard, there is giant peanut butter recall going on. It doesn't effect jars of PB that you get in the grocery store but does effect PB used in 'industrial' applications - like those nasty orange peanut butter crackers but also pet foods, etc. So I have some bird feeder 'suet' that is peanut butter based. Am I exposing the birds (and stupid squirrels that we can't keep away from the feeders) to salmonella? How would one tell if the birds had salmonella? Can they get salmonella? (I am less concerned about the stupid squirrels who insist on stealing the bird food. They are the earth bound equivalent of the sea gulls who steal food on the beach.) And if the birds did get salmonella could this evolve into a weird bird peanut butter salmonella that can cross species and get in to the human food supply? Or is my brain just really totally gone (that is assuming I had a brain to begin with)? Anyway, are you curious now too?

In the meantime back at the ranch, my back decided to be relatively good yesterday. It didn't hurt until I washed the dishes. Lesson learned: never wash dishes again. It causes back pain. My husband disagrees with this one. He says I should be able to wash dishes again. There is no proof that dish washing is what caused my back pain simply because the pain occurred while washing dishes.

Yesterday I met a friend for lunch but also took the opportunity to view a little spring time. There used to be a big flower show in Boston every winter but I think its canceled this year. To get my own mini version I went to one of the giant gardening centers near here and walked around the green house for a few minutes to admire the plants and breathe all the chlorophyll filled air. Ever notice how the air in green houses seems to be extra refreshing?

I made a big pot of chili last night. My husband's office is having a chili cook-off later this week. He has entered it but thinks I should make the chili. My response is we will make the chili. Yesterday was our practice batch. We will make the real batch Wednesday night. It was actually pretty yummy but now we will have lots of chili in the freezer to eat later on.

Today I am meeting a friend to do some snow shoeing along the river. A co-worker told me about this place and it sounds quite nice. As long as it warms up from the tropical 9 degrees we are currently experiencing (and my back decides to behave) snow shoeing sounds quite nice. Maybe I'll even bring my camera. This is a clear case of avoidance. Why think about my back when I can practice avoidance again? I am getting good at this avoidance thing. (But not as good as Governor Blagojevich who is going to skip his own impeachment trial. That goes right to the top of the list of key avoidance exercises.)

However today's big goal is to stay up late. I have to go to my MRI at 10pm. I expect to be home by midnight. The only problem with this is I never stay up that late. I think I will plan a little nap in the MRI.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I'm developing a case of scanxiety

Scanxiety is a common condition among people with medical issues. It is often preceded and followed by doctor appointments. Scanxiety's symptoms include stress, whininess, crabbiness, and general grumpiness. It also includes the big fat fear of 'what if' as in 'what if the scan finds something else that's bad'.

My MRI is tomorrow night. Apparently a spine MRI is a relatively long one, maybe 45 minutes to one hour. I dislike MRIs because you have to lie still and not move for the entire length of the scan - and then your nose itches or something. And sometimes it includes an IV - but this time mine doesn't. But last time, the IV insertion was incredibly painful so maybe this one is making up for it. My MRI is late - starting at 1045pm. I think I will take a nap during it. I have done this before even though its loud.

Then I go back to the doctor Tuesday morning for the results. At least I don't have to wait for days for them. Then my scanxiety will be over - around 1030am Tuesday. But it could be followed by another case of scanxiety if more tests are needed or just general crankiness if I don't get the news I want to hear - which is just 'lots of physical therapy should solve all your pain issues'.

In the meantime, my house is getting cleaner, I am getting organized for our trip way early, and cooking a lot. These are common scanxiety reliefs. I am also going out to lunch today and meeting a friend for snow shoeing tomorrow.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I am not alone in being boring

Apparently I am not the only one with a boring life. Yesterday was not a fun day in terms of back pain. My back hurt all afternoon and last night. I need to find out what I can do when I just can't get comfortable. This is ridiculous. Now I sit here and need to take my morning advil. But I can't take it until after I eat because its really hard on an empty stomach. I can't eat until its an hour from when I took my thyroid pill (must be taken an hour before or three to four hours after eating). So I have about another 15 minutes and I will eat something and take my advil. Perhaps I will start whining sometime later, maybe, maybe not. Maybe I'll be crabby instead.

Today I am not doing much. Well I will waste time on the (time-sucking) internet and go for a walk. But I don't think I will do much else. My back hurts (did I mention that yet? I am such a good patient. I suffer in silence so well.) Actually my goal is to do some house cleaning this weekend and organize my office. I rediscovered my desk yesterday in cleaning up. I mean, now I have a clean flat surface between me and the monitor. How useful.

But since I lead such a boring life, that is all I have to say today.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A summary of my back

Ow! Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow! Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow! My back hurts today. It hurt all yesterday afternoon and last night. It makes me crabby. Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow! I will talk to the doctor about pain management on Tuesday but in the meantime, ow, ow, ow, ow, and more advil please!

Right now I am also dealing with a little bit of springtime indoors. Many moons ago, in early November, I planted an amaryllis and started forcing a hyacinth. FINALLY, the hyacinth is blooming (and is fully inspected by Mr. I-Have-To-Stick-My-Nose-Into-Everything). Of course the amaryllis is not yet blooming. I fully expect it will bloom when we are out of town next week (because that's just how life works sometimes) but is probably 3' tall.

Today I am meeting a friend for coffee and another friend for a walk. Between my social life I will squish in some work and possibly some house cleaning (but I'm kind of getting fond of the dust bunnies - I might miss them if they were gone). However I have to do something about my desk. It is buried under a pile of paper. Tonight we are actually going out to dinner, just because we want to (and it would be helping the economy). Now I am off to take some more advil.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A New Plan of Attack

How to deal with the pain in my back? How about I listen to the doctor and actually do what he said? What a novel idea. He told me to take 3-4 Advil three times a day with meals (He might have said take 3 Advil 3-4 times a day but then it wouldn't be with meals. I have no brain but I am trying to remember and do what I am supposed to.) Anyway, yesterday I took three Advil with each meal. This is for its anti-inflammatory properties, not necessarily the pain relief properties but you would think if inflammation went away, some pain would too. So my back feels a little better. Not completely but some what.

I am going back to him next Tuesday for my confirmation appointment. It might be a good idea to at least appear to be a good patient and take the damn Advil between now and then (and hope I don't run out and have to break into the bottle of ibuprofen I have that expired in 1997 - I moved twice since then and for some reason brought it with me. I could go to Walgreens and get more too.) I think appearances are important and I should appear to be a good patient (but I am sure there are all sorts of secret doctor notes in my file about my crabbiness etc from all my previous medical interactions) as it looks like I will have multiple interactions with this back doctor. I assume he will confirm my spondy... spondi... spond... (damn, I have to learn to spell this) stress fracture and send me for physical therapy with a follow up in another month or two. Then may be more PT (but not big needles or surgery I hope) who knows? I'll have to be that patient patient again. Where's the damn miracle cure when you need it? That's right, they haven't found it yet.

This is also going to mess with my goal of ten doctor appointments this year. I already know of eight and PT hasn't even been scheduled. Grrr... Well, okay, 20 appointments would be acceptable. I guess I could deal with that.

So yesterday I worked from home and went to work. Then I went to my volunteer meeting (are volunteers suckers?). Actually it wasn't that bad. I will have a meeting or two a month, every month for about six months. Its for a worthy cause. American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. I will handle publicity and marketing for the local relay which happens in June. Since I can't find another damn job I might as well fill my time with volunteer work. I also went to the gym and used the weight machines and walked on the treadmill. The doctor said I can do what I want and the pain could be caused by a weak abdominal core so I figured I might as well start trying to get back in shape even though I'll start PT. It doesn't hurt to do the weight machines so I guess I am allowed (see there I am listening to the doctor's advice again!)

Today its work from home and go to work. And do volunteer work. And have the cat annoy me. All the same. I will go snow shoeing. Or maybe a walk outside. I can't decide. Need more coffee first.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I learned a new big word yesterday


But first I do have some thoughts on the Obamas being in the White House. I think its a great idea that Mrs. Obama is going to continue to make her girls make their beds and clean their rooms but there's lots more to childhood that needs to be included. Do the girls get to go to the kitchen and make a batch of cookies with their mother or grandmother or is the White House chef the only one allowed there? What about home made food - not made by the chef? I think a chef would be great but it would be like eating in a restaurant three meals a day which gets old fast. What if you just want a cup of tea, can you get it yourself? Doesn't everyone want to have something weird for dinner once in a while - what about cheese and crackers or a bowl of cereal or just a salad? Do the Obamas get to cook their own food ever? This would clearly drive me insane if I couldn't cook and poke around the kitchen when I wanted. Not that I would want to be president, or a politician, either but the food thing would drive me up a wall.

Yes I did watch the inauguration yesterday. I watched it on a live feed on my computer. Very cool. But I also had the tv on downstairs and it was between 20 and 30 seconds ahead of computer feed. Sort of an echo. But I did watch it. I also got to go for a nice walk outside yesterday. I'm feeling flabby and needed the exercise.

Anyway, yesterday I learned a new big word from the doctor. You know my theory - you can't have an ailment unless you can spell and pronounce it. Actually I learned two new big words: spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis. The first one means a stress fracture in your spine. I probably got it as a teenager while figure skating. You know when you fall a lot on hard surfaces - like a skating rink which is made of ice. It is also common for gymnasts and foot ball players. Its not a big deal in itself until your body starts aging and the vertebrae slips out of alignment and you end up with spondylolisthesis. (This medical business is really expanding my vocabulary.)

The next step is an MRI on Monday night to confirm this. The doctor showed me the x-ray and said the radiologist who read the films originally missed this which is why I was erroneously given the all clean reading a few weeks ago. I could even see it on the x-ray but now we need an MRI to confirm? I am not sure I like this. One test shows this but then more tests are needed to confirm? Hmmm... Are there more tests afterwards to confirm the confirmation? This could get redundant. Anyway, I will go for the MRI and then a follow up on Tuesday with the doctor for more information.

In the interim, I get to take lots of advil. I was told take 3-4 advil, 3 times daily with meals for its anti-inflammatory effects. I'll just add 9 more pills to my little daily pile. In addition, I will start some physical therapy. If that doesn't work to relieve the pain we get to move onto even more fun with cortisone injections and/or surgery. However, I get to do any activities I want unless it makes my back hurt. The doctor said 'if it hurts, stop doing it and do something else'. Well, what if it hurts while I'm sleeping? Should I get up in the middle of the night or lie there in pain? Sometimes it doesn't help if I move around... I'll work on suffering in silence. (But as I think about it can I leverage this to my advantage: I pretty much have the shoveling snow and lawn mowing thing taken care of - I have cancer, sorry, can't do those. But now I can add 'sorry, I can't mop the kitchen floor, it makes my back hurt' or 'sorry, I can't paint the bathroom, it makes my back hurt', or 'sorry, I can't pump gas, it makes my back hurt'... This could be very useful if I were to be at all devious.)

Now it has been some time since I have been to Lahey but the OMWAHs are still there. The first one was unable to land their giant car close enough to press the button to get a ticket to enter the garage. When I arrived he was standing next to his car getting his ticket. Then there was another who was trying to back out of the parking space but I don't think she realized that she had mirrors and should look behind her before backing up. No crunchings were involved but it was a very long, slow process to enter the parking garage and get into a parking space.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A day of change

Today is a day of change, out with the old president (see ya George) and in with the new. There has been just a tiny bit of news coverage on this. In case you missed it, all the regular tv shows will be preempted today so the world can watch the inauguration of our new president. I am attempting to see if I can record the swearing in and speech so I don't have to completely rearrange my day to watch it. We will then be able to watch it tonight - instead of watching coverage of the parties.

There has been lots of coverage on all of this but I think we overlook one key group of people. The movers for the Bushes and the Obamas. Apparently the Bushes have started moving out as early as last summer. (I guess they realized they needed to start packing early). But the Obamas have to be moved in today during the ceremony. And unpacked and the beds made and all that stuff before the kids have to go to bed. These people get lots of credit for doing this and missing all the festivities. There's a lot going on behind the scenes there we often forget about.

So yesterday I was wasting time on line (and avoiding shoveling but I did use the snow blower a little bit again) and found this exercise in complete futility. This isn't happening in our house. I can't think of anyone who will actually do this. Toilet training your cat. It says it can be done and start slowly. Start by moving your cat's litter box closer to the bathroom at the rate of an inch a day. Our cat's box is down in the far side of the basement - probably 45 feet away. An inch a day for 45 feet is 45*12 days, or more than a year's worth of days (and more math that I am going to try to do in my head this early in the day). I can think of many better things to do over the next year than move the cat's litter box an inch at a time.

Today I am going off to my favorite place - Lahey, the land of the OMWAHs. But I am going to a different department than I have been to before - this means a different waiting room with different nurses and different magazines, so maybe it won't feel like the same place. I have my doctor questions written down and printed out, as well as my medical history. I have been thinking up my doctor script all night and have some good ideas. Now let's see what happens in reality.

Yesterday I did go out and snow shoe. I found a new route around the local reservoir. I had never figured it out before (call me slow but I have lived in this town for 15 years) but our neighbors told me about it. It was very nice, bright sunny day, and lots of ducks. Which meant I should have brought my camera. Today I hope to get to the gym or out for a walk on the plowed bike path for a change after the doctor and before going to work.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A system that works

I have proof that a system is working. I was told for every reusable shopping bag put into use, it prevents 1000 plastic shopping bags from being made, used, and thrown away. I used to have millions of plastic shopping bags around. Every trip to the store would result in more. No matter what I did, I always had tons of them. Now I ran out. Yes, I ran out of plastic shopping bags.

I switched to the reusable bags last year and haven't been getting the plastic ones as a result. They are useful even if they stick around in landfills for thousands of years. We use them for used kitty litter for one thing. I currently need some to pack up some books I am taking to the used book store. I will have to find something else to use. (Or i can continue to walk around the big pile of books on my office floor.) That might be a project for today.

Another project for today is to write the script for my back doctor to follow tomorrow. There are some things he is allowed to say - tests, exercise, physical therapy, pain relief. But there are some things he is not allowed to say - cancer, surgery, continual pain, no more sports. I need to have some crib notes ready to give him so he doesn't say the wrong things. (Breaking in new doctors can be difficult and time consuming.) However, a friend of mine has gone to this same doctor for her back and she says he tells it like it is, doesn't beat around the bush. I can deal with that. I also need to update my 'little' list of my medical history, drug allergies, and medications taken for him as well. Every doctor visit, especially a new doctor, turns into a project.

A project for today for my husband is to shovel us out again. We shoveled yesterday. Actually, I started shoveling and was redirected to the snow blower (he conned me, he told me it was fun). It wasn't that bad but it is a little, lightweight electric snow blower that now I can say I know how to use. I will let him use it today. So yesterday, we were expecting 3-6" of snow. We shoveled twice because we got more like 10". Overnight we were supposed to get another 1-3". This morning it doesn't look like we shoveled at all yesterday because we got another 6" or so. I haven't been outside yet but you can't tell we shoveled yesterday at all. My supervisory skills will be used quite a bit today I can tell, while I am not snow shoeing.

Yes we went snow shoeing yesterday when it was snowing the hardest. It was nice to get outside. Today I will go again. My back didn't hurt any more than it has been after snow shoeing so I might as well be doing something I enjoy.

Otherwise, I don't have a lot of plans for today. Maybe I'll make some whole wheat banana bread out of my gushy bananas.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Day Not To Repeat

This was my day:

- eat a banana for breakfast
- start laundry
- go to Circuit City & Costco with spouse in giant crowds
- get VERY crabby
- eat a couple crackers with peanut butter at 130pm
- go to gym to destress
- come home eat a few cheese and crackers at 3pm
- resume speaking to spouse (where it was pointed out that perhaps I should have eaten more yesterday.)

Well, I wasn't hungry and kind of forgot to eat. Today I am making whole wheat Belgian waffles for breakfast. My husband wants pancakes but I think Belgian waffles will be better. I said I would make them if he brought all the laundry up from the basement. As I am typing, he is carrying laundry. (too bad I have to fold it later.)

(Yesterday we also did discover the reason why Circuit City is going out of business - we found the world's first slow motion cashier. If he was moving any slower, he would be standing still. I guess you could argue that he wasn't very motivated since he will be out of a job shortly but it definitely added to the 'pleasantness' of our visit.)

However today, I will eat three regular healthy meals. I also want to go snow shoeing. My husband thinks I shouldn't go snow shoeing because of my back. But snow shoeing doesn't make my back hurt any more than sitting, standing, or lying down does so I don't see why I shouldn't go. Besides, I want to get in shape for our trip in February. Last night, I actually slept relatively well but woke up once with my back hurting. You do realize I could go to the doctor and have them tell me absolutely nothing is wrong with me and it was a wasted trip and I am just getting the aches and pains of old age (and that I whine a lot).

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wasting time on line

I admit I spend some time (no, well, maybe a fair amount of time) on facebook. It is a giant time suck, I admit. But I get to reconnect with all my college friends and we have fun. But I am not on it all the time, just some of the time. However then some one with a lot more time to waste than me, wrote up a wiki about how NOT to waste time on facebook. Which is a bigger time waste? Wasting time on facebook or writing about wasting time on facebook? I think the latter. Then there is the argument of writing about writing about wasting time on facebook - I guess that could be considered a real time waster.

There are many other good websites for wasting time on line. Freerice.com and lolcats.com are two others I can quickly name. Has anyone written about how not to waste time on those sites? No, not to my knowledge. So my earlier argument holds that the person who wrote about wasting time on facebook is the real time waster.

Anyway, here's a semi-creepy occurrence. I keep a list on my computer of things that are wrong with me... Its about 1.5 pages long and ends with a list of medications I am on and medical allergies I have. It does not have my name on it anywhere. I keep it updated and print it out to give to doctors so they can read the Cliff Notes version before delving into my giant medical file. I also go to the library regularly.

The other day in the mail, I received back from the library my printed medical list that I must have left in a book at some point. They must have actually gone back to their records and figured out who had checked the book out and mailed it back to me. Big Brother must have been involved somehow. Just a little creepy since my name wasn't on it. (And now its out of date so I have to reprint it before my Tuesday doctor appointment anyway.)

Speaking of my Tuesday doctor appointment with the back specialist, I did consider canceling it as my back has been behaving and not causing pain. But last night it was most uncooperative and kept me up since about 230 this morning. (Crabbiness alert for later today.) So I think it is a good thing I did not cancel it.

Today is another 'brisk' day. It is still in single digits. I hope it warms up so I can go for a walk outside later on. But it needs to hit 20 degrees for that to happen.

Friday, January 16, 2009

On using one's brain

Today my goal is to use my brain. Perhaps even all day. What's ironic is that most days I say to my husband as he goes out the door to work 'wallet, keys, brain cells?' as a reminder of the basic essentials necessary in life. I have not been using my brain cells. Here are some examples:

- We are experiencing a slight cold wave (today it was 1.9 degrees F). Last fall, I got an awesome deal on a heavy duty down parka. Have I been wearing it? No, I have been freezing in my regular winter coat. Yesterday I remembered to wear it. I now plan on wearing it every day until it gets warmer. It is almost too warm but I think I can deal with that. Its better than being cold.

- I will bring my sneakers to the gym with me. Last week I got to the gym and didn't have my sneakers and ended up pedaling on a stationary bike instead of using the treadmill. I thought I was a moron for that. Then yesterday I got to the gym and realized upon getting out of my car, I had forgotten my sneakers again. So I went home and got them and went back so I could use the treadmill.

- I will pay attention to the TV schedule. I raced home from the gym yesterday to watch the episode of Top Chef... They changed the schedule. Silly me assumed that if last week it was on at 11 on Thursday it would be the same this week. So I raced home from the gym to see the Real Wives of Orange County (or whatever its called). No I did not watch it. But then I found my Top Chef issue on last night while waiting for the last episode of CSI which was delayed because of the latest political speech but I didn't get to watch the whole thing because one channel changed their schedule by 15 minutes and the other channel didn't. A little consistency would be appreciated. Or perhaps I should just stop watching so much TV.

- We have a cordless phone with three hand sets. We mysteriously lost one for about a month... We finally found it stuck in the cushions of the arm chair in the living room.

- I will bring my reusable bags to the grocery store. Yesterday I ended up buying another one as I didn't have one with me...

See I clearly have no brain. Or maybe I just haven't been using it. I just have to remedy this by thinking.... Such a concept.

Yesterday I went to work and worked from home. Today I don't have to go to work but I will work from home, go to the gym and my parents are coming over for lunch. We might even go out for dinner tonight.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

If I had a life

If I had a life, I would have inspiring things to write about. But I don't have a life evidently as I have nothing inspiring to write about. Today the highlights (lowlights?) of my day will be TV. First this morning I will watch Top Chef and see the latest episode that was on last night. Then tonight we will watch CSI as this is the episode where Grissom leaves the show. In between TV watching, I will go to work, work from home, and go to the gym (just like any other day of the week). See I have no life.

Otherwise, let's see. Its cold outside. 9.4 degrees this morning. Apparently that's as warm as it will get tomorrow. (You know you are grasping at straws when all you have to talk about is the weather.) We might get a little more snow today - nothing significant, just enough to be annoying. My back was reasonable yesterday - meaning it didn't hurt much. (Now that I have the specialist appointment, of course, its not going to hurt...)

Yesterday's big excitement was I went to the gym and drove there (its very close but it was cold out). I couldn't park there as it was too full and the pesky snow drifts were hogging too many parking places. So I ended up parking halfway home and walking back in the cold. Half an hour later I looked out the window and there were lots of parking spaces. Today, because of the heat wave, I will just go a little later and should have no problems parking.

See how boring I am - blogging about the weather and parking?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Its a good thing we have calendars

I woke up this morning and started thinking about my day and what I need to do. I have work to do, want to go to the gym, and then am going to work. I also want to call the mortgage company and see what it takes to change from my maiden name to married name on the mortgage (any bets that either it will take an hour on the phone or that it isn't possible - like any mortgage company they are just cranky to deal with). Then I go sit down at my computer and start my normal time wasting - playing computer games, facebook, other online communities.

Voila I look at my calendar and I have an appointment to get my nails done. This means I have to stop wasting time already and get my act in gear so that I can get everything done I need to before 1130 am. The pressure mounts. (And the cat doesn't help as he insists on sitting on my lap between me and the keyboard to help me type.)

What I really need to do is look for a job - another part time job. There are all sorts of interesting jobs out there (and I am not making these up):

- Marketing assistant for a balloon artist - I didn't apply because I know nothing about balloon artistry and hate listening to balloons pop.

- PR for a burlesque troupe - it would mean working evenings

- Penmanship tutor for young professional - I failed handwriting in 3rd grade so I don't think I am a candidate here.

- WREHOUASE PROFESSIONAL - if they can't spell, I don't want to work for them. Not that I consider this type of work a career path for me either (you know my back stuff might be a conflict).

In addition to these, are all the usual sperm donors wanted, egg donors wanted, unpaid internships, 'recession proof entry level jobs at international non profits', etc. You can see the job market is just flooded with up and coming openings. I am sure I can find something that fits my skills. Actually I have applied to a few openings and am waiting to hear back. The interview I had before the holidays said they wouldn't know for a while so I can't call them to follow up for another week or two. In the meantime, I supposed I should get my work done here so I can go to the gym and then go to work, after my nails. (Life is so complicated sometimes.)

Otherwise, my back has chosen not to hurt so far today so its off for a good start. Let's see how long this lasts. But when I get my nails done (not that I am dwelling on this - what colors should I do?), the salon has one of those heat/massage chairs that I get to sit in for an hour (suffering silently of course). Sometimes I am concerned that my back will decide to miraculously heal itself before I get to the specialist. (But then it usually decides to speak up and make my life difficult again.) But what if I do get to the specialist and say - 'well it stopped hurting last Tuesday so I don't think there is anything wrong with it.' That would be a big fat waste of time. However my husband has pointed out that I might be a tiny bit stressed because I seem to be 'cooking up a storm' (his words) which is apparently something I do when stressed. Yesterday I made pumpkin sage biscuits in the morning and then cauliflower casserole for dinner... Not sure what I am making today but I will eat left overs.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Clarification

Arlo & Janis
I feel I should clarify a few things. First of all, the cat has not been catching any mice. Walter and his traps are catching mice. We last caught one on Sunday. The cat sleeps through all mice catching activities.

Also, my back only hurts some of the time. Defining some as 'anytime it would like to cause pain' is about as clear as I can get. I am sitting here right now and it is just beginning to hurt. There doesn't seem to be any clear rationale for it to start hurting. I can bend over and touch my toes, twist, and stretch and nothing seems to cause an increase in pain. I can also go for a walk or a snow shoe or use the machines at the gym and not have it hurt always but sometimes it does. It is inconsistent.

Yesterday, it was mostly okay. Sunday afternoon it was awful. Where does it hurt? Well, my lower back on the right side and in the middle and sometimes all the way up my spine. (If you happen to have a miracle back pain cure, feel free to let me know.) I have already tried advil, ice, heat, massage, Icy Hot stuff, and ignoring it (the most proactive thing). I am suffering in silence until my doctor appointment one week from today. I am sure you will hear a few more whines about it between now and then.

Another clarification is that sometimes I cook things that are inedible. Currently I have some pumpkin sage biscuits in the oven that may never be edible. They were supposed to cook for 8-10 minutes and currently are close to 20 but are still all gooey. (My husband said 'you seem to be cooking up a storm these days - you do this when you are stressed'. Possibly back pain causes stress but that's another story.) And I really hate recipes that say use an ungreased pan and then you have to chisel the results out of the pan...

Otherwise, yesterday was a busy day. I went to the gym, worked from home and went to work. Today I am working from home, going for a walk, and then going to work and my support group and running a few zillion errands. Not much. Just enough to keep me out of trouble. Perhaps I will look for a job in there some where as well.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I want to be whiney

I know some of you are saying 'well she's always whiny'. But no today I want to be whiney because I deserve a time to be whiny here. Yesterday I was whiny at home. My back hurt and wouldn't stop with advil so I took the opportunity to use some of the advice that was given to me to help with back pain and actually tried the ice route and it did seem to help. Except I hate using an ice pack in January. I am trying hard enough to keep warm and an ice pack counteracts my other efforts.

Yesterday I also tried snow shoeing. (No, it didn't make my back hurt. My back hurts all the time whether I do something or not.) It was actually pretty nice but showed how out of shape I am. So I am flabby, out of shape, and whiny. And my back hurts. What else can I whine about? I am sure there are other things.

Actually yesterday I was productive. I met a friend for coffee who is also a notary and got a bank form notarized that I have been putting off for a month or so. Today's big projects are to: 1. go to the bank and get some fancy stamp to change from my maiden name to my married name on some stock certificates; 2. go to town hall and change to my married name on our property deed; and 3. call the mortgage company about changing the mortgage to my married name. Considering we are approaching our fourth wedding anniversary, its about time I got around to these things. (Maybe I'll be whiny and productive at the same time.)

Today I will also go to work, work from home and go to the gym, or maybe a walk or a snowshoe... But that's basically what I do every day.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Out of touch people

There are some people who are simply out of touch and don't get the basics in life. A case in point is the man mentioned in this article. He blames the naval warships for the death of his nephew. Who was a pirate and was involved in a high speed escape from the warships with the ransom received for a ship. This is kind of like a bank robber blaming the police for an accident that occurred while they were driving away fast while fleeing the scene of the crime. I don't think so. (Yes, I know Somalia has a lot of problems and there aren't a lot of ways to make a living there that aren't illegal.) But if you choose an illegal way of life, this is called 'consequences'. How's that for a little Sunday morning rant?

As I continue my boring life (it really is boring - the cat regularly falls asleep), yesterday I met some friends for coffee and then a friend came over for a walk. I did get some laundry done as well before we had retirement celebratory pizza and salad for dinner. I also watched most of 'Mamma Mia', finally. Its pretty good. Definitely a chick flick, and a musical. I will watch the rest this morning while I fold laundry.

Yesterday I did some research. I have found it is very useful to keep a daily blog because if you forget anything (because you are old, blonde, or have chemo brain), you can go look it up quite easily. I found that I first complained about my back pain on November 29, which means I have been whining (or suffering in silence) for a paltry six weeks.

Today my back chose to wake me up early. Advil is a good thing. I think I will continue to take Advil and ignore my back and go snow shoeing this afternoon. I can go to the conservation land near here and not have to wait for anything to be plowed or shoveled. (I can also supervise Walter's snow removal from the warmth indoors.) I need some exercise and we got 4-5" of new snow last night. Such is my boring life.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Glass half full or half empty?

Yesterday was a very up and down day. These things did not go right:

- I went to the bank to take care of two things and only could do one because I didn't have the right paperwork.
- I went to pick up my purse from being repaired and it wasn't ready (even though it was the day after it was supposed to be ready).
- I went to the consignment store to see if the clothes I had brought in had sold and they hadn't.
- I got a (very expensive) parking ticket (I was a tiny bit too close to a fire hydrant. My husband said I could fight it but I feel that it is just payback from all my years of quasi-legal parking spaces. His response was 'so its just karma?)
- A friend with breast cancer told me she is going in for a biopsy on Monday - a very BAD thing.
- I was cooking dinner (this is a tiny bit yucky) and a worm crawled out of the fish I was cooking. (Okay, really yucky. Yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck. We had chicken instead.)

On the other hand, my car passed its inspection after failing last month. That would have been really expensive. No, not the new car, my 9 year old Saturn with 129,000 miles on it that I want to last another five years or more. After everything else going wrong, I almost didn't try to get it inspected. Was it my day to have everything go wrong or was I due to have my luck change? Well apparently, my luck did change (until the fish incident).

Another good thing is apparently we are over our colds. This is a good thing because I am sick of being sick. I was getting to the very mature stage of 'if you ignore it, it will go away' treating a cold. (Sometimes this backfires and what you have turns in to pneumonia or something so its not really endorsed by the AMA as good medical treatment.)

Today I got up and cooked Walter breakfast. Why? Because I am a nice person (or at least wanted to appear that way)? No, because today is the day he is going to Army reserve drill for the last time and turning everything in. He has officially retired from the reserves now and will get a pension later as a result as he has his 20 years in. I figured as it was his last day I could get up and make him breakfast for once. Tonight we are going out to celebrate (or may stay in for pizza). He didn't want a big party so that will be our celebration.

Also today I am going to meet some friends for coffee and then another friend is coming over to go for a walk. We can walk on the bike path here all winter long, as opposed to icy, slippery sidewalks. The town we live in plows the bike path which is great for walking in the winter. But we live on the town line and the next town said 'what a great idea, we'll plow the bike path too' (and got some donations to pay for it even). But I think they have been a bit slow about plowing so by the time they get around to it the snow is packed down which means it is really slippery. We will go explore this and see if we can walk on pavement and not ice (much safer). They will need to plow again tomorrow because we are getting yet another snow storm tonight. Too bad I can't shovel snow. I will revert to my supervisory mode again.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The solution for hair issues

You get cancer, you have chemo, you lose your hair, you wear a wig, and wait FOREVER to have your hair grow back. Forget it, I have a new solution. Research should be done to figure out how to add automatic hair growing to the equation. This could be done something like the old Crissy dolls from the 1960's. These were the ones where you could automatically grow your doll's hair from short to long just by turning the dial on her back. Then we wouldn't have this long waiting period of getting our hair back to its desired length. This is called 'creative thinking' or 'thinking outside the box'. If someone could figure this out, they could get very rich.

Okay, enough thinking for today. I still have my cold. My back still hurts. My husband is home sick another day. However I do feel somewhat better and will actually attempt a walk with a friend outside today. Maybe some fresh air will help. Well, that's the idea anyway. I also have some work I have to finish and some errands to run. Today is errand running day. Tomorrow, believe it or not, is another snow storm. We live in the 9+ inches area. Too bad I can't shovel. I am so upset. However my extreme supervisory skills will kick in and I will make sure my husband handles snow removal correctly.

Yesterday I did go to the gym, work from home, and go to work. Not very exciting but I never claimed to be exciting.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Having no memory

Chemo brain means having no memory - short term or long term. It is now my excuse for forgetting just about anything. Sorry if you think I over use it but I am going to use it.
However now my phone has lots its memory. The sim card died. This means every single phone number that was programmed in is now gone! I have to find them all again and start programming. WHAT A PAIN!!! But it does give me something to do between job hunting, being sick, working, and going to the gym.

Speaking of memory, yesterday was a rainy/snowy/yucky day. I decided not to go outside for a walk (because that would be a really bad idea since I have a cold). Instead, I decided to take my cold germs to the gym (so I could share them). However I have no brain so I got there with out my sneakers. I ended up riding a stationary bikes, pedaling in my socks. I looked at my sneakers before I went out the door and just forgot to pick them up.

Sharing is an important thing to do. I have now also shared my cold germs with my husband. This makes him crabby. Perhaps he will just go back to bed or something. I actually do have a busy day. I need to do the work I didn't do yesterday as well as go to the gym and go to work. I also hope to fit in watching Top Chef. The new episode was on last night and is on again today at 11. I hope to watch it then.

Otherwise another normal boring day. My back hurts. My cold is still here. So exciting.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Heat and ice

Here in Boston, it is winter. It is cold. Today is especially yucky with a nice freezing rain on top of an inch of new snow creating a lovely glaze over everything (very conducive to staying inside). Yesterday I was told by some friends I should try to put ice on my back to help with the pain when it is bad. I'm sorry but ice packs do not belong on people in Boston in the winter. If you need ice, there is plenty outside. I prefer hot packs

Last night I opted to go with the hot pad route again. We have a buckwheat filled pillow that we put in the microwave and it stays nice and warm. Well, smart little chemo brained me listened to my husband and put it in for four minutes. Apparently this was too long as it was too hot to touch and smelled like cooked buckwheat (not the optimal result here). So I let it sit out and cool off for about 15 minutes before trying it. It was nice and warm and then instantly moved to the too hot category. So I moved it and found that it had made a very hot place on my pillow as well which was too hot to lean on. Very complicated this hot cold business. Which one to use, how not to be too cold or too hot.

In the meantime, in addition to back pain, I have a cold. Yes, the basic all American common cold (that they don't have a cure for just like cancer). Okay, I am whining. I am allowed to whine. Here's my list of reasons for whining today: my back hurts. I have a cold. The cat insists on helping me type by sitting on my lap. There is an ice storm going on making it very slippery out. I can probably add more but I think that's enough for this early in the day (and I didn't even include the cancer business or post surgery abdominal pains).

Anyway, yesterday I went to the gym and worked from home. Then a friend had an errand in the neighborhood so I met her for lunch before going to my support group. Rather productive. Not necessarily restful. My husband thinks I should stay home all day so I get better. Well, that is boring. It might make me whinier. I was going to meet a friend for coffee today but due to the lovely weather conditions perhaps we will reschedule for tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jobs and health issues relating to working ability

If you have a medical condition, does it impact your ability to do your job? Well, yes it could. Perhaps you injured your back and can no longer perform a job that requires standing or lifting objects. What if you have a chronic condition (note: cancer is treated as a chronic disease these days)? But your brain still works and can you still contribute to the company. Would you/should you tell your potential employer of your limitations due to your medical history? No, absolutely not unless they need to know. If it in anyway impacts your ability to perform your job that is different than if you have a condition that is under control.

A case in point are the recent stories on Steve Jobs. He had a form of pancreatic cancer a few years back and recently had experienced a significant weight loss. The news headlines rang out - his cancer is back, he's going to die. Apple stock tanked. Then did he have a heart attack? Stock really tanked. The media was ready to bury him before he died. Did he perform his job in the past year? As far as I can tell he did. Also, a company is more than just one person. One person cannot be identified as a company. Someday he is going to die (sorry but true, life is a terminal condition and this will happen to all of us). However, he's not dead yet. He's still working. And the company is still going strong.

This is just one example of the millions out there fear and discrimination in the work place and other relationships. Just because someone at one time had an illness, it doesn't mean they will drop dead on you. Or that they are contagious. Or that the brain doesn't work (okay, I will admit chemo brain can be limiting). But they still are who they are and should be treated as such. Don't turn your back on these people, treat them as you would normally. I know it isn't my place to speak for Steve Jobs or Apple Computer but my point is this isn't such a rare form of bias as you might think. It happens all the time.

Okay, that was my soap box rant for the day. Maybe because I have a cold I am being extra crabby. Or the fact that I am trying to type and the (15 lb) cat insists on helping by sitting on my lap. Yesterday I worked all afternoon. Today, I am going to work from home and see how I feel. I may just stay home (as was recommended by my husband) but I have not decided yet (should I start listening to my husband now?).

Monday, January 5, 2009

You are what you eat

We have always been told this. You are what you eat. Somehow, we just ignore it. However we must remember that people are like computers - garbage in, garbage out. Eating healthy is important. Especially if you are dealing with health issues.

I got a new book for Christmas "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan. It was very informative and provides some good advice. The first statement is 'eat food'. That doesn't sound like rocket science as we do eat food. What else would we eat? How about 'eat food, not food like substances'? What is a food like substance? Are you eating peanut butter, which should be made from peanuts with maybe a little salt? Or are you eating low fat, reduced calorie peanut spread with about 20 ingredients, most of which are unpronounceable? See the difference? Which is food and which is a food like substance?

After reading this, I think our eating habits are going to change. My husband doesn't know this yet but they will. Which means he will eat differently? Do I tell him or do I just start changing things?

Meanwhile speaking of eating, the cat is shirking his duty if he wants to eat the mousies. Walter decided over the weekend just for the hell of it to put out mouse traps again. We woke up in the middle of the night hearing all kinds of noises down stairs - enough noises that I put my glasses on (very important to see what's going on or catch a burglar), turned on the lights, and went down stairs. The cat was very eager to see me, he was in a somewhat 'psycho' mode but came right up stairs and went to bed. The noises stopped. This morning, we had a mouse in the trap. Did kitty assist in this operation or did he merely chase the poor mouse around the kitchen? If he wants to eat the mice, he needs to catch them before they get caught in the trap. Those are free range, organic mice you know!

Yesterday I did try snow shoeing and I think it went okay from the point of view it didn't make my back hurt any more than it has been and I didn't wake up in extreme pain today. It was also a very nice day with bright blue sky (But did I take any pictures? No I just took my camera for an excursion outside.) Anyway, it was a fun day.

Today, I think is back to work day. My husband has been on vacation for the past two weeks along with the rest of the world. I hope to hear on some job interviews in the next few days and perhaps on a doctor appointment for my back. I also am going back to work this afternoon after working from home and going for a walk this morning. Life is back to its 'exciting' mode.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2008 in review

2009 has now begun so everyone must come up with their analysis of 2008 and their predictions for the new year. My 2008 was so so - I only had surgery once (which was an improvement over 2007 where I had two surgeries) but I did go through radiation. I only had a few billion medical tests as well. All that needs to come to an end. This job hunting stuff is getting old. I seem to have done it for the entire year and am still looking for more work. But this is part of the benefits of working for yourself - you always need to find more work.

2009 should be a better year. In addition to fewer doctors appointments, I want the following:

- more work - another 20 hour/week job would be great. Not full time work. I don't like that any more. I want flexibility and do the things I like too - volunteer work, etc.

- lose weight. Now I know that's not original. Probably 80% of Americans say they want to lose weight as part of their new years resolution but I am not claiming to be original just making a resolution here. I am not going to go on a 'diet' because diets don't work. If you want to lose weight you need to change how you eat and exercise more. Eat less + move more = weight loss that will stay off.

- get healthier. That could be tied to the lose weight business noted already and should surely result in the fewer doctor appointments (when you are healthy you don't have to go to the doctor for them to tell you that you are healthy - doctors just tell you when you are sick and how sick you are and what it will take to get better)

Okay, that's enough. Thats my big plan for 2009. If you want to read a humorous take on 2008, go check out what Dave Barry wrote.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Scrabble and back pain

Today I seem to be on the losing end of both. I have been totally trounced in scrabble three nights in a row. (I didn't play the cancer card or claim chemo brain but I did get all the crappy one point letters so I couldn't get any good words.) Also, after two nights of okay sleep the back pain has returned which means I woke up about 4 am.

I think I was successful in confusing my doctor. Sometimes its nice to be able to do this. I called the doctor on Wednesday to find out the results of my x-rays. Then she called me back with the results and said I should see a specialist also on Wednesday. But yesterday she called again and said she wasn't sure if I had called again or if she had already talked to me. She was confused. I did talk to her. I just need the referral.

Today I am totally unsure what we are doing. My brother is trying to plan but let's just say that nothing is planned yet. Yesterday we did go sledding and for a nice walk. (It was nice or too long depending on who you asked. My husband said too long. My niece and nephew said it was nice.) We also ate too much food again. Today we hope to eat less.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Our president elect

This morning my six year old niece and I were talking about who is president. I asked her 'who is our next president?'. She replied 'Abraham Lincoln. No that's not right.' She thought about it and then remembered correctly. A smart kid.

Yesterday we ate entirely too much at my parent's house and had another Christmas dinner. Today we have to go sledding in the new snow we got the other day. I may not do much sledding due to my back but I will at least go for a walk. Then unfortunately we will probably eat too much again. We seem to do that when we all get together. At least I did sleep relatively well again last night. But this morning once again my back hurts.

See how exciting my life is? We have house guests and I am still boring. The cat on the other hand is very scared. He won't leave me alone. Maybe its because of the small children who want to shove toys in his face, pat him, and feed him constantly. He is a chicken.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year


Here's to a happy and healthy new year to everyone. Yesterday we had a tiny snow storm. Of course, I had to drive during the worst of it. But my brother drove in from New York after it (the smarter way). Today apparently we are having a heat wave today and some sledding will be involved. I am not sure about sledding for me. Today my back allowed me to sleep until 630 am. Which is the most sleep I have gotten in more than a week. I am not sure sledding is a good thing - back pain and sledding usually don't go together.

Yesterday I also spoke to the doctor. My back x-rays (contortioned or not) were clear but that does not explain why my back hurts so next week I will probably see a specialist - this would be an orthopedics doctor who specializes in backs. Gee I can't wait.

Now I do have a new year's resolution. That would be to go to the doctor fewer times in 2009 than in 2008. Last year I had 79 doctor visits:

January - 20
February - 20
March - 6
April - 7
May - 3
June - 5
July - 2
August - 3
September - 5
October - 4
November - 3
December - 1

In 2009, I want maybe 10. Unfortunately I already have five that I know of, plus the one next week so I am not sure that will be possible.