Saturday, February 28, 2009

Oops!

We all have the 'oops' in our life but here are a few I found yesterday:

- an octopus in California managed to flood the aquarium.

- a parked car was ticketed seven times before they realized there was a dead body in it.

- octo-mom admitted to Dr. Phil that she had made a mistake with having all these babies

In comparison, my oops is nothing. I just had to admit to my husband twice this week that he was right - it hurt my back less if I did my exercises on my yoga mat AND he remembered which belt the vacuum cleaner needed...

Anyway, yesterday I was busy all day but did get out for a walk with a friend in the nice weather - it was 60 degrees. Today is 40. Tomorrow is snow. Monday is more snow - and lots of it. Wah! This is getting old. I noticed the beginnings of tulips and crocuses in my garden yesterday.

Today we are out for a walk and then go get our taxes done. How fun! NOT! Then we are going to the library, the bookstore and out to lunch to recover. Must have antidote for taxes! I did my exercises twice yesterday and already this morning - in case you were keeping tabs on me.

Friday, February 27, 2009

PT # 2 update

I told you I would keep you updated on my PT (but its really so I write it down and don't forget about it - because as I have hinted, I might have chemo brain and no short term memory). Yesterday was PT #2 (but it was really #3 because I was a moron and wrote down the real #2 wrong on my calendar).

The therapist was pleased to see how well I was doing with the exercises and upgraded me to some new ones. One of them is called the 'One Armed Dead Bug'. To do this, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your arms so they are straight up in the air. Simultaneously hold your stomach muscles in (but continue breathing, do not hold your breath), and raise your left foot off the ground and your right hand over your head, hold for a second or two and switch sides. Do two sets of ten each. You will look like a one armed dead bug if your coordination allows you to complete the manuever. Its not as easy as it looks. If you can walk and chew gum, you might be up for it. I have to stop and think.

On the other hand, she was concerned about back spasms while at the dentist and some of the other pain issues I have. We are still working on stabilization and have not yet gotten to strengthening yet. On the plus side, we can add PT sessions if needed. In the meantime, maybe I will end up more coordinated.

Also yesterday I worked from home and went to work. We run a children's program and the rush has begun. We get about 1000 registrations in for summer. We already have over 100 and the catalog has not yet been mailed out. This is just from online. It gets very crazy at work. Crabbiness might be looming. I'll have to see. But with chemo brain maybe I can leave the stress at work by conveniently forgetting about it.

In the meantime, I have another over scheduled day today: Work from home, manicure, job interview, phone call, and walk with a friend. This job interview is the self defeating one - what if I worked at a garden center? Would I spend my salary on plants? This could be very dangerous. Oh, yes, I would have to exercise that self control thing I hear about sometimes.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Apparently I have a Cadillac

Last week while I was at PT, I was told that even though I have the 'cadillac' (the physical therapist's word, not mine) of health insurance, I should call and make sure that my PT is covered. I had already checked and found I can have up to something like 50 sessions a year... Anyway, after a little more discussion, I was told that our health insurance plan was one of the best available.

This is interesting. First of all our co-payment is relatively average or high - $20 per visit. Also, there are some things that just aren't covered that are covered under other insurance plans - most dental work is not covered, scalp prosthesis (better known as chemotherapy wigs), opticians. We end up itemizing this stuff on our taxes and deducting it.

But on the other hand, we have a $300/person annual deductible and then a $5000 annual out of pocket maximum for the family. We pay our co-pay and then they pay 90% of the allowable amount, leaving us to pay the remaining balance. we get our regular prescriptions through a mail order service, which gives $10 refills for a 90 day supply and we get four free refills a year. In a given year, we can never spend more than about $5600 on medical expenses. So I guess in the scheme of things, this is a pretty good deal.

Now I am sure there are those of you out there with lower co-pays or had your wigs paid for by insurance. But do you also have the out of pocket maximum and the deal on prescriptions? Medical insurance is a crap shoot - will you need it or not? If you are a family with a bunch of small children who go to a doctor regularly your needs are different than a single person in their 20's who never goes to the doctor or those of someone like me with a couple of cancers lurking in the background. All I can say is that don't buy your medical insurance based on low co-pays and low premiums because you will probably end up with low coverage. I know people who have emptied their retirement savings to pay for medical bills even though they have insurance.

I am just very glad that we have the out of pocket maximum and wonder how soon we will hit it this year. When that day hits, we do not pay for a single medical expense - no prescriptions, co-pays, nothing. In 2007, I was diagnosed at the end of May and hit that magic number in August. In 2008, we reached it in March. So far this year, I have had to pay co-pays for every visit and feel like I am spending tons of money. Anyway, if this is a Cadillac, I think I'll keep it.

In the meantime, today I have to do work from home before I go to work. I WILL ALSO REMEMBER TO GO TO PHYSICAL THERAPY. MY APPOINTMENT IS AT 11:15AM. I HAVE TRIPLE CHECKED THIS. (Which is good because I was thinking it was at 11AM - but that would have gotten me there early instead of late!) Before that I need to go for a walk (and walk off the flabbiness - or at least pretend to), possibly have a conference call, do work for two different people, prepare for my interview tomorrow, and do a load of laundry. Perhaps I should get off my butt and start moving!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I am a moron

Yes, a big, fat (well not fat, slightly larger than I want to be), stupid moron. An idiot to be precise. (And I have chemo brain - perhaps that is my excuse.) I went for my PT consult a few weeks ago and got a list of all my appointments, in writing. I even brought a print out of my calendar so they could be scheduled to coincide with the rest of my calendar. I brought home the piece of paper and put them all in my calendar. Then they sent me a computer print out, which I compared to my calendar. Then they called to remind me about my appointment yesterday.

You would think I could get there. No I can't. I am a moron. My appointment yesterday as at 2 pm. I thought it was at 245 because that is what I put in my calendar. At 205 pm I realized I should find my notes from the last PT session and get ready to go as its about 10 minutes away. That is when I realized I had messed up. I am a stupid, stupid moron incapable of writing things into my calendar. I called them to see if I should still come but it was too late. They said to just come on Thursday for my next scheduled session and they will see about rescheduling an additional session later. Tomorrow's session is at 1115am. I just triple checked on my calendar to be sure that I have it correctly.

Okay, now that I have that out of my system I can move on. Well, maybe, I still feel like an idiot for doing such a stupid thing. On the other hand yesterday I did get a phone call for a job interview to do marketing, web stuff, and advertising for two garden centers. This could be a self defeating job. The purpose of a job is to earn money but do I have the will power to work at a garden center, and presumably get a discount, and not spend it all on plants? This would be a test of my moral fortitude (how's that for a fancy term so early in the day?)

Anyway, today I am up early because I have overscheduled myself - now there is a surprise. Here is my schedule today: 7-8am gym, 830am and 9am or 9am and 945 am phone calls, 1030-330 work, stop by RCN office and get new cable box, 4-515 pm support group, 530 make dinner, 7-8pm conference call. I don't think I have left anything out but since I have proven that I am a moron you can't be too sure. Tomorrow is borderline overscheduled - it really depends on how much work I have to do at home in the morning but if I make it through today, I should be okay.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How much can I handle?

Yesterday was an eventful day. I did go to the gym and work from home (just so you know I am still boring). I also did my exercises for PT twice (just so you know I am doing what I am supposed to). In addition, there was lots going on.

A friend of mine recommended me to write some press releases for a local company who she used to work for but no longer is available. I spoke with them and actually it looks like I may have a fair amount of additional work from them. So I can worry less about job hunting. I will know more in the next week or so but in the meantime I have to write a press release today, as in this morning.

I finally could register for the Stowe Weekend of Hope. This takes place the first weekend of May and is desired and an educational and supportive weekend for us lucky people who had cancer. They get medical professionals and others to talk about the latest in cancer research, etc. and you get a weekend in Vermont. Did I mention that its free to qualified first time attendees? After the first year, you have to pay a small amount. I figure its a weekend in Vermont and we (meaning my husband and I) might actually get something educational out of it as well.

I also went to work yesterday afternoon and it was the beginning of the summer chaos. We run a summer program for about 1000 children in July and parents have been calling about availability since before the holidays. The catalog just went live on the internet and its starting to get VERY busy. (This can make me cranky too.) Of course, I got to work late because I had to wait around the doctor's office.

Oh, yes, the doctor's office. I went at the appointed time for the blood tests - they always want blood tests. The nurse got me and took my vitals (and actually weighed me - eek - the nurse last week just asked me how much I weighed). She took my blood pressure and it came back as 135/85. I said that's wrong. Its never that high so she tried again, after I took off my sweater. It was 120/80 which is much better. Then she said 'are you having blood tests today?' I said 'yes because that was what was scheduled'. She said 'well there's nothing in the computer' and went to find my chart to read the doctor's notes from last fall. Yes, I was scheduled for blood tests but they never made it into the computer. Two more examples of speaking up and managing your health care. So then I went for a blood test and the tech couldn't find the vein in my arm so she used the back of my hand (ow, ow, ow, but not awful).

Finally, I got to see the doctor. I told him about my back and he asked me 'did anyone say anything about cancer?' I said no they hadn't but I wanted to make sure I brought it up to him - especially since the physical therapist has been bugging me about this. (Also, if there had been any cancer found, don't you think I would have called him instantly, since he's the oncologist? I would have been in his office the next day.) He wasn't concerned about any of my complaints - random abdominal pains, fatigue, blah, blah, blah. All he was concerned about was my menopausal state so he can switch me from Tamoxifen next year to an aromatase inhibitor. Evidently my estrodial levels (thats the fancy word for estrogen production) were at 5 in October when I last saw him. He didn't have yesterday's results yet but when I come back in NOVEMBER I should get my blood test the day or two before so he can have the latest results then.

Yes, that is right, I don't have to go back to see him until November. But the only reason for that is I am seeing my primary care in April, have a mammogram and the surgeon in May, and see the radiation oncologist in August. (And the dentist today, in June and October - in case you were keeping track.) I am very happy about this. I really hate going to the doctor all the time and if I can get this down to a reasonable level, like every three months or so, that is just fine by me.

This means in the meantime I need to resort to drastic measures:

1. Get a life.
2. Get more work.
3. Plan my garden for the year.

But first, I have to do some work this morning.

Monday, February 23, 2009

This is 'update the oncologist day'

I have decided a doctor appointment isn't a check up as much as keeping the doctor updated. Today I have a follow up with my oncologist. What has happened in the meantime since we last met? Fun and games with a mammogram last fall, back pain, hair regrowth and I have more questions for him.

In the business world, it is important to learn to 'manage up'. Don't let your boss set the expectations about you. You set your boss's expectations by doing what you are supposed to do correctly and keeping them informed. But also, by showing your willingness to take responsibility for and take charge over what you do, you can earn their respect of your credibility.

In the medical world, you have a primary care physician, and then if you are lucky like me, you also have a medical oncologist, a radiation oncologist, a surgeon, a back specialist, and physical therapist, not to mention a dentist, periodontist, and ophthalmologist. What is the lowest common denominator here? That would be me. I am the one who needs to make sure they are all informed about all my latest fun and games. I need to manage them.

Today I need to bring my oncologist up to date on everything. This means bring my lists and ask my questions and see what he has to say. I am also preparing a script for him to follow (I think if I keep trying this route, the doctors will learn their scripts sooner or later). This script basically goes along the lines of 'there is nothing to worry about, you are (basically) normal, and come back in six months or a year'. However, I have a feeling this could be more along the lines of 'lets run some tests, see you in three or four months'.

In the meantime, I was reading something interesting in the paper this morning. Medicine is no longer 'one size fits all' which is a very good thing. For example, men and women respond differently to different treatment plans. However this can go too far particularly in cases of standardized care, such as the example cited in the UK where a cancer drug was denied to patients as the government office had deemed it too expensive. Government agencies should not make medical decisions. That is my rant for this morning.

In the meantime, yesterday we started with some sunshine and ended up with a rainstorm, that turned to snow and froze solid. We now have a new glacier in the driveway. I am a weenie so I will ignore the glacier and drive over it to the gym because it is 23 degrees out and the wind is about 25-30 mph so the wind chill is sub zero. Then I will spend quality time at the doctor office - I get a blood test and then sit around for an hour before seeing the doctor. Then I get to go to work. Yes, I did my exercises twice yesterday and also this morning. My back only hurts moderately and I will go to the gym. How exciting is that?

Actually, we did have some excitement yesterday. We live behind some small apartment buildings and down the street from an assisted living facility. There are often fire trucks and ambulances around because of the assisted living. Yesterday I heard some fire trucks while I was working and basically ignored them until I heard some breaking glass. The fire trucks were because of the apartment buildings and the breaking glass were the firemen kicking in the back door of the building because it was on fire. Since we live near the town line, there were fire trucks from both towns. There was some significant smoke and then a repair truck was there for a while in the afternoon. I said to Walter 'the building next door is on fire'. He goes over to the window and says 'why yes it is'. And went back to his computer. I think the cat slept through the entire episode. So much for excitement.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Something to focus on besides my back!

The marauders have returned. I need to figure out a way to get rid of them. We went out to a party last night and had a very nice time (except my back hurt all night - maybe because I was standing for the first couple of hours). When we got home, there was a bunny rabbit in the garden. I know he is staking out my tulips to decapitate them later on! I need to figure out a way to get him to stay away from my plants. This is very aggravating. I will go check my new Gardens Alive catalog (organic gardening and pest control) to see what I can do. And no the cat is not going to become an outdoor cat just for rabbit control.

Yesterday I was good and I did my exercises twice like I was supposed to. (I haven't done my exercises yet this morning but will as soon as I am done here). My back hurt all day even though I put ice on it twice. Last night it was bad. Today I will not stand around socializing and see if it helps. My real question is how soon do the exercises start having any impact on how I feel? I don't expect them to solve all my problems instantly but is it a few days or a few weeks or somewhere in between? Perhaps I should write this down so I can ask at my next PT trip.

Today, we are going to get a snow storm. (Its Boston, its February, its not surprising.) I do have some work I can do. I also could be productive and fold laundry and stuff. Maybe vacuum. Hmmm... Actually I really need to figure out what to do with my amaryllis and hyacinth that I forced that bloomed and are now done. I want to store them so I can do the same thing next year. But I will start earlier so they bloom closer to the holidays.


I also need to get organized for my oncologist trip tomorrow. I have to organize my lists - of questions, issues, medications, and allergies. I think that's it. The real question is how late will he be running - sometimes I end up waiting for a while for him. But first I will do my exercises and go for a walk.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

PT # 1 recap

I get to write about PT here so I don't forget before I go back. And I am sure all of you are dying to know what it was like. So I went to PT yesterday not really knowing what to expect. I brought shorts and sneakers because that's what the paperwork told me to do (and I actually read it so a gold star for me). Evidently, they were running late so I had to sit around and wait (after rushing to get there in time because I had be on the world's giant time suck - the Internet).

Finally the physical therapist came and got me and had to review all my paperwork since it had been so long since I had been there she didn't remember any of it. (I'm the cancer person who has an oncologist appointment and need to point out my back issues to the oncologist just in case.) So she asked me how my back was feeling and had me try some different things - did any make my back feel better or worse? Now try some mild exercises and did my back feel better or worse as a result of the exercises? I couldn't tell if it hurt more because of the exercises themselves or the cumulative effect of all the other stuff she had me try first. Then she did some light massage and put ice on my back. Which felt better for a little bit but then hurt and stiffened up.

I ended up with two exercises to do twice a day (which I already did one set in case you were wondering) and was told to put ice on it when it bothers me. This is in addition to taking my anti-inflammatories. Last night I put ice on my back and this morning my back hurts. I hope that what doesn't kill me will make me stronger but in the meantime I can be whiney about it.

Otherwise tonight we are going to a fondue party which should be fun. Lots of friends who we haven't seen for a while but also some who we just saw in Lake Placid. Today I also have to go to Trader Joe's, the gym, and do laundry. (Isn't my life exciting?)

Friday, February 20, 2009

I missed that little voice!

No, not the voices in my head but the little recorded woman's voice that calls (with unknown caller ID and has a little pause before it starts) on the phone and says (and I have it mostly memorized) "Hello. This is Lahey Clinic calling Carolyn (they always say my name wrong). You have an appointment at Lahey Burlington. Please bring your insurance card and medications list with you. Your appointment is at 12:30 on February 23. To confirm your appointment, press 1." Well, maybe this isn't exactly correct but its pretty close.

Last night I was making dinner and the phone rang. I answered and there was a little delay and then the little voice started. I realized as I was listening I used to get phone calls about three times a week with appointment reminders. Since I had my little appointment vacation (which wasn't as long as I wanted it to be), I hadn't been getting the reminder calls and having the privilege of listening to the little voice. Did I miss her? Well maybe. Maybe not. Actually, its a pretty efficient way of making sure you get to your appointments but the problem is its not always correct. Very unhelpful when it calls you and gives the wrong time.

So yesterday I was a little whiney. Today I am somewhat better but I am off to my first physical therapy session - finally. This has dragged out a long time. I will see how I feel after it. Does it hurt when you do this? Before that I have all kinds of work to do because I have procrastinated this week (not I!). And I want to go for a walk. And maybe I need to do a little house cleaning. Perhaps I should get organized first so all of this happens.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Random cancer musings

So cancer sucks up your life and makes you forget about all the other important things going on around you. You rearrange your priorities and think 'cancer' about EVERYTHING! What? This is wrong. Cancer shouldn't take over your life. You should still get to live your life with out the giant elephant called cancer following you every where.

Speaking of living my life, I have said this before and will say it again, I am not a cancer victim, cancer patient, or cancer survivor, or any other stupid term like that. I am simply someone who is living with cancer. If you look up the definition of the word victim, you get:
1. a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency: a victim of an automobile accident.
2. a person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some impersonal agency: a victim of misplaced confidence; the victim of a swindler; a victim of an optical illusion.
3. a person or animal sacrificed or regarded as sacrificed: war victims.
4. a living creature sacrificed in religious rites.

I am not suffering from a destructive or injurious action or agency - just dealing with a medical diagnosis. I was not deceived or cheated, nor was I sacrificed in war or in a religious rite. Also, I am not a cancer patient. A patient is someone who is undergoing medical treatment. I may be a patient while I am at the doctors but not every second of the day. (Well, I am patient in that I am waiting for a cure for cancer.)

A survivor? Not really. What did I survive? A few million (or at least it feels like that many) doctor appointments maybe. I have persevered through hardship but am I surviving like a weed in the garden? Am I just another weed in the garden of life? Or is my cancer surviving like a weed? Lurking in the background, you pull out all the ones you can find but then sometimes they reappear. I get really resentful when people tell me I am a survivor. Or when people say your 'battle with cancer'. Hello, a battle is full of heavy hitting, well positioned, military like people whaling away at an enemy. A course of medical treatment is more like taking pot shots in the dark - we'll try this treatment and if it doesn't work, we'll try this one and if it doesn't work, we'll try another. Oh, and this treatment has a few million side effects, don't mind them, we are treating your cancer, we think but aren't really sure.

How cynical am I these days? Well, perhaps you can call me the cancer cynic. I admit that somehow the glass is less than half full and the rose colored glasses work less frequently these days. But in the meantime, I'm still here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My back hurts

In case I have failed to mention this recently, I would like to state that my back hurts. I took a pain pill last night but it still hurt in the middle of the night and this morning. I can't take another pain pill because I can't drive while taking them, and I might be too impaired to do other things, like think, walk and chew gum at the same time, bring both sneakers to the gym, etc. Instead I will just be whiney. My husband just went to work, so I will be whiney to the cat about it. That's okay, because he's begging for kitty treats (and he's pouting because we locked him out of the bedroom last night so we could get a good night's sleep as the night before he managed to keep us both up by climbing all over us, snoring and generally being a pain the neck).

Two more days until PT starts. I had hoped to get an earlier appointment but evidently they didn't have any cancellations. I called and asked and was told that often people just don't show up - which I find to be very rude. If you can't make it, call and tell them (even if you have a really lame reason - like your dog ate your homework). Just not showing up in life, is about as lame as you can be. Most of life is about just showing up when and where you are supposed to. In the meantime, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.

Today, is, could it be, yes it is, another over scheduled day in my life. I need to work from home, go to the gym, go to the farm stand (because we are out of vegetables and that just can't happen in my life), go to work, go to Boston for a meeting, and make meat loaf. (Actually the meat loaf is mostly made. I need to put it in the baking pan and put it back in the refrigerator with a detailed note for my husband - somewhere between 6 and 615 pm, turn on the oven to 375 degrees, put meat loaf in pan in oven, covered in foil, no need to preheat oven. I hope this isn't too complicated but I am pretty sure he can handle it. If I don't write it down, he will forget.) Otherwise, I don't have a lot to do. I could consider vacuuming the living room but I am pretty sure the dust bunnies can co-exist with us these days.

Actually my next project is I forced both a hyacinth and an amaryllis this winter and they bloomed nicely. Now what do I do with them so we can repeat the process next year? I probably should go read the boxes they came in to figure this one out. Or I could look in a gardening book or on line. A little research might be the answer here.

In the meantime, there was an article on the news this morning about how all cell phone companies (except Apple because of course they NEED to be different) have agreed to develop a universal cell phone charger so that we can all have one and not three and throw them away with each new cell phone. Doesn't that sound like an awesome idea? They will also use less power than current ones. But, we get to wait until 2012 for them to be available... This is sort of like waiting for the cancer cures you hear about on the news to get through three more years of clinical trials before being available. (Yes, sometimes I think my entire life is about waiting for new remedies...)

Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, off to my busy day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another media sound bite that ticks me off

So this was today's article in the paper, apparently the latest in cancer care is tailoring treatment to the genetic make up of your cancer. Doesn't this sound wonderful? They can figure out how to best treat your cancer by its genetic footprint. Isn't that great? Yeah, well, when will these advances become part of the standard treatment program at your local hospital? In fact, where are these tests being done? How about a little credibility here? So basically you can forget about this article because, although it makes you believe there is light at the end of the tunnel (that is not a train coming at you in the other direction) there isn't enough substance here to make it worth the read. Perhaps I am being a tad cynical these days.

Yesterday I did go to my radiation oncologist for a follow up. I didn't get what I wanted. I have to go back in six months for another follow up. I also need to make sure I have that bilateral mammogram in May. Gee, thanks for positive reinforcement. Now I have three doctors saying I need a mammogram. All a mammogram does these days is provoke a giant case of scanxiety - now I can have it for three months as well. (But perhaps that will distract me from back pain, weird abdominal pains, job hunting angst, and PITA cat induced insomnia (last night he had a good night's sleep but neither of us humans did - the little snoring, drooling, paws in our face/ears/nose, bed hog). Could this be the cause of cynicism? (To get even, I ate an orange while working at my computer so he won't come sit on me - he hates all citrus and it is the one thing that will actually keep him away.)

Today I have to work from home (but not just talk about it or pretend to but really get some work done) before a conference call, walk with a friend and my support group. However, lunch will be the highlight of my day (and for several more days) as yesterday I made a giant pot of turkey soup with brown basmati rice and barley. I froze most of it but will be able to enjoy the rest of it for a few days. Am I overscheduled? No more than usual and I would like to see if I can fit in PT at some point as well instead of waiting until Friday. I had stopped taking the anti inflammatories for my back but as the pain levels are increasing I think I will resume them, even though they have the list of very nasty side effects to watch for and were making my stomach hurt. But now I really need to get to work.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I wore a hair clip yesterday

We were trying on dresses and my sister brought a hair clip that we also used to improvise altering what we tried on. I ended up putting it in my hair a few times. What's the big deal with that? Well that's the first time in a year and a half I COULD wear a hair clip. I plan on moving on to barrettes shortly. And then to a ponytail (I did try one yesterday but it really didn't work - I don't think it counts as a ponytail if you only get about 1/100th of your hair into it... I will work on being patient about this but it does take a LOT of patience here and I think I am running out.)

Today's big excitement is I get to go see the radiation oncologist. My goal is to get out of there with a 'you are doing fine, see you in a year'. None of this 'see you in six months' or 'you need more tests' business. I want a 'just fine, see you in a year'. Why you ask? Because I deserve it! Is there any other reason necessary? I will just go with my little prima donna attitude and get what I want. Actually, I discussed this with my therapist and it is a sign of good medical care when you have lots of follow up appointments. (But I am really sick of going so I am getting a little whiney - in case you hadn't noticed.)

Otherwise, what will I do with my time today? Waste time on line (I'm getting really good at that), do some work maybe, spend some time with my husband. That's about it I think. I have no life.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I get soooo confused

Yesterday, I had two coupons for Barnes & Noble and a gift card. One of the coupons expired today so I really wanted to go yesterday. My husband declined the opportunity so I went by myself. First of all, it was difficult to get there. Its not far but there was a minor car accident on the other side of the road which resulted in major grid lock so it took entirely too long to actually get there. Upon arrival, I was all discombobulated as the down escalator (which used to be the up escalator) was running up and the up escalator (which used to be the down escalator) was running down. (I get confused every time I go there as a couple of years ago they reversed the escalators for some unknown reason and yesterday's snafu just confused me all the more.)

My first stop was the trashy novel section. Perhaps there is something new and inspirational to be found there. I found one potential tidbit of 'literature'. Then I went off to the health section where I check the cancer books - perhaps they have found one with the 'cure' in it that I need to add to my collection. Call me confused by why was this book, Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways To Live to Be 100 mixed up in the middle of the cancer collection? There were three copies so it clearly was not a case of someone sticking a single copy back in the wrong place. They should have number one in that book be - DON'T GET CANCER!

After perusing the options in cancer and discovering that there is not a new cure for cancer, I moved on to the cook book collection - one of my favorite stops. (The little voice in my head that is my husband reminding me that I have way too many cook books kicks in and I just browse and contemplate.) While enjoying quality time in my car (a/k/a stuck in traffic) on the way to the store, there was a short blurb on the radio on a book about cooking for better nutrition. I thought what a great idea. I'll have to find a copy while at B&N, with my coupons and gift card, and see if it is worthy of purchase. Well, I thought I was so smart I wouldn't need to write down the title and/or author while in my car because I was going right to the store, but I have chemo brain and the escalator thing confused the crap out of me so I couldn't remember what it was called and wasted a good half hour drooling at cook books while looking for it.

Then I went in pursuit of more 'literature' and was walking around, exploring, instead of heading right to the fiction/romance section. I was actually reading the labels on the shelves: 'Computers and Technology', 'Desktop Publishing', 'Business', 'History', 'New History', 'Poetry'... wait back up - yes it really said 'New History'. Don't they mean 'New Books in History'? Not 'New History' which would be books about last week? See the level of my confusion? I gave up and decided it was time to leave. I quickly found some more literature in the romance section (one book for each coupon).

Trauma then hit, I needed to go downstairs. The down escalator was running up and the up escalator was broken. There are no stairs (clearly an architectural error). There was a GIANT line for the little bitty elevator. So I got in line (but did briefly contemplate sliding down the banister of the escalator). Then I got to stand in the next giant line at the cash registers where a nice man was in front of me with his 3 year old daughter who didn't want to be any where near her father in the store. It wasn't very relaxing. By the time I got to the register, I remembered my coupons but forgot my gift card. Clearly my brain was over capacity by this point.

To further punish myself on a holiday weekend, I decided to take a quick trip to the mall. Why would I go there when there were lines of cars backed up on to the highway because the parking lots were full? Why, why, why? Because I wanted to take a quick look for a dress. However, I was creative and 'made' a parking space rather close in (but nestled right up next to a giant snow drift). There was potential for being blocked in if the car next to me was replaced by a giant SUV, but as the snow was actually melting yesterday, I figured I wouldn't be stuck forever. As luck was with me, I did all my shopping and realized, after seeing someone with an Eddie Bauer bag, that I had discovered recently a two year old merchandise credit for EB in my purse which I had forgotten about (chemo brain again). So at least I used that up. I have a nice pink windproof fleece vest.

Since last night was Valentine's, we actually ate dinner in the dining room using the good china. Why have a dining room and good china if you never use them? It was quite yummy. Tonight we are going out to celebrate valentines. Tomorrow I have a doctor appointment. Gee, can't wait. I have to get my lists together of everything - questions, issues (by the way my back hurts), medications, and allergies. At least this doctor doesn't usually make me wait long and is in the portion of the hospital with its own little bitty parking lot so the OMWAH potential is lower.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Apparently the crabbiness index is related to how I feel

This morning my husband said to me 'how do you feel today?' I said 'okay, for the most part'. Apparently he wanted a crabbiness level assessment before the day began. I later asked him if I am too whiney about all my ailments (as I was recently accused of being by someone else). I was informed I am not too whiney. I do think he doesn't hesitate to speak up if I am overly whiney or crabby. Sometimes, he tells me to sit down and chill out for a while (with a glass of wine even too). Well, last night my digestive system was not appreciative of what I was eating. In fact, it was down right crabby. Today I will eat more carefully. I think I will also skip the anti-inflammatories which I have been on for a while - I think they are causing me problems but I will call that doctor on Monday.

So today is Valentine's day. I have roses and chocolates. Walter just has chocolates (apparently great minds think alike as we both bought the other chocolate) but I made a yummy breakfast and we are having a special dinner too. Tomorrow night we will go out.

Yesterday I did manage to fit in a manicure/pedicure. I am tired of the same old boring colors so I did something special with my toes - yes, that is purple with white polka dots!
Today we just have lots of stuff to get done around the house but are going for a walk this morning. You know the fun stuff in life - laundry, organize our tax stuff, mop the kitchen floor, refill the bird feeder. My life is just plain boring some times.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Consistency

My back hurt all day yesterday. But I guess we can call that consistency. I can whine about it. This morning, my husband wanted me to go down stairs for something. I said 'my back hurt'. He said 'is that the excuse we are going to use for everything now?' I replied that I can also say 'I have chemo brain and had cancer'. He accused me of being whiney (and bratty). Can you imagine that? Me, whiney? Not I! Then he left for work and the cat is sitting on my lap making my back hurt.

I also slept all night last night - an infrequent event. I even slept through the alarm clock (good thing I didn't have to get up). But I do feel somewhat better and (now that the cat is back on the floor) my back is not hurting right this minute. Perhaps it will behave itself today. I do have another over scheduled day. Work from home, lunch with a friend, walk with another friend (proof that I have at least two friends), manicure/pedicure, and then out for dinner with a third friend (okay, maybe I have three friends total).

Yesterday I got my hair cut. It is exciting to have hair cuts these days. It means several things - my hair has returned, it is no longer really, really, really short but merely short, and it is reverting to its normal color and consistency. These are the important things in life. However, as I have short hair, if I don't get it cut regularly and deal with gel and a hair dryer, I have a tendency to either look like a Dr. Seuss character when it sticks up straight on the top of my head or like the flying nun when it sticks out on the sides (or a weird mutation of both with these occur simultaneously).

I saw this on line yesterday - Yes I do more with my life than surf the internet - but I bet you never knew how they give giant sea turtles a physical either. Anyway, my doctor appointment isn't until Monday. Do I need to write down back pain so I remember to ask about it??? Probably not.

Time for work. My back just started to hurt. Damn.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Another contortionist in the medical profession

A while ago, I went to see a contortionist - that would have been the doctor who first examined me about my back. She had send, bend this way, bend that way, touch your toes, tell me when it hurts (that would be a lot and frequently). Yesterday, I went for my physical therapy consult. The PT, another contortionist, was very nice and very through and very impressed with the fact that I came in with a list of all my other ailments and previous medical (mis)adventures as well as a list of medications (with dosages) and medical allergies. (This list is WAY TOO LONG these days.) Anyway, for a hour she worked with me and pressed on my back in different places and had me bend and stretch and tell her when it hurts (often and frequently).

Finally at the end, I got this information:

1. I have two degenerating disks which cause some pain. But one of them is also bulging on the right which causes the most pain (and I needed a bunch of tests to tell me that was the source of the most pain?)

2. I have gotten weak and lazy over the past three plus years because I keep having surgery and now I have had abdominal surgery twice which messes up the muscles in your abdomen. (More rocket science - when they cut your muscles, they may not grow back the same way.) Also, these pesky operations keep interfering with my workout schedule.

3. In addition to my back issues that are causing me pain, the bulging disk is contributing to the sciatica like symptoms of tingling down my left leg which have been undiagnosable for the past two years (actually, after I had a clean EMG two years ago, the whole issue was put on the back burner while I was in treatment). So PT will include my back on the right side and my left leg.

4. I am out of alignment in my lower back - she didn't want to sound like a chiropractor - but there are some alignment issues going on as well.

5. I should be careful in what I do for the next few weeks as we see how PT helps. This means only certain machines at the gym, no yoga (even though I bought a new mat so I could go to classes), and no skiing (in case of falls or injuries). I didn't ask about anything else because I didn't want to be told about more things I can't do - if I don't ask, they can't tell me no and if it doesn't hurt why not. Of course she did say I should continue my daily walk (every one always tells me that - its kind of like the dentist telling you to floss all the time).

6. Finally, (this kind of surprised me but not really) she asked specifically when I am going back to see my hematologist/oncologist and suggested strongly that I bring up all my back issues to him to make sure that there are no cancer things going on. I am going to see him a week from Monday and will be sure to bring it up. In the meantime, now I have something new to stress about.

After my visit with her making me bend and pushing on different parts of my back, my back hurt for most of the rest of the day (funny!) I start PT next week and will go for four or five weeks, twice a week, and then we will reevaluate how I am doing. One note was she did ask about how much lifting and carrying I do around the house. I was happy to tell her that other than lifting up our delicate, little (16 lb lard butt) cat, I have successfully delegated most lifting and carrying to Walter and have successfully convinced him I am incapable of shoveling snow. She gave him lots of brownie points for that.

Today, I have another overscheduled day - walk, work from home, hair cut (yes, its getting too long), and go to work - and I might have to work until 9 pm. I think I also have to fold laundry.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

These pesky hot flashes

Normally, hot flashes occur when women get the 'privilege' of going through menopause. However, us lucky cancer people get the 'privilege' of getting hot flashes for other reasons as treatment messes with our hormones. They (being the doctors and nurses) tell us that hot flashes are normal during chemotherapy because this interferes with normal ovarian status - basically it shuts them down. Then they stick you on Tamoxifen, which causes hot flashes as well. Then when you are through treatment, you can get the privilege of going through menopause with hot flashes again normally.

Now for someone who is always cold, hot flashes can be useful on a ten degree day in January but they are very annoying during a heatwave (I mean who needs an internal heatwave during a heatwave?). They are also very annoying when you are nice and comfortable sleeping and all of a sudden you feel like the oven was cranked up to 450 and you are sleeping in it? You wake up! So much for a good night's sleep. (And we know lack of sleep causes general crankiness and crabbiness so it is clearly not a good thing to go without.) Another question is if you are outside on a cold day, and get a hot flash, can you get hypothermia at the same time???

When will these end? Well, let's see, I have another year at least of Tamoxifen and its little personal heatwaves. Then I may continue on Tamoxifen so they may continue. Or I might switch to another form of hormone therapy for another three to five or eight years, which may or may not have this pesky side effect. Or, if I don't continue to have hot flashes, when menopause occurs naturally, I get to have them all over again. I can't wait. (Maybe I'll start spending time in Antarctica during the summers.) Can you tell that I was woken up last night by a hot flash? (And then my back hurt so I couldn't get back to sleep.) Not that I am crabby or anything but time will tell. I will just continue to 'enjoy' this 'privilege' for the coming years.

A friend sent me a rebuttal to yesterday's topic of Wal-Mart. Apparently, they have tried successfully to convert the American consumer into being greener. Well, that is all well and good but if you read down to the end of the article you can read about the discrimination and wage lawsuits they are dealing with.

This morning my big adventure is to go to physical therapy (or physical terrorism as I have heard it called - does it hurt when you bend this way? or if I do this?) In some ways I am looking forward to this but am reserving judgment. Also today I have to go to work and to do some volunteer work. I will be busy all day. I have a list of things I must do today as well (because I have chemo brain and keep forgetting them so I have to write them down).

Yesterday I had a job interview. I am not sure how it went. I will know if I get a call for another interview. But I did get to get together with friends for lunch which was nice. Now, time to get moving instead of procrastinating on the internet all day.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Things that drive me to distraction

There are many things in life that drive me to distraction (or just plain crazy). This includes my medical crap. I mean I can stew and stress about it (which apparently I do, if you ask my husband). I really try not to but sometimes it just looms as the giant elephant in the room - particularly before doctor visits and before and after any follow up tests.

Instead of worrying about myself, I try not to worry about my friends either. I have too many friends with recurrences of their cancers. And some online friends who aren't here any more. It can be very difficult. What do you say to someone who is in their early 20's and has been told their cancer is now stage IV and very aggressive? Or another friend who has just been diagnosed with a third cancer? There aren't a lot of options here. I do try not to worry but that doesn't always work.

Then I try things like volunteer work. Where I get to meet more cancer people to worry about. I know I should only try to worry about myself but that's not as easy as you might think.

Today, I have a distraction, instead of worrying, I will be ticked off at Wal-Mart. This article this morning made my blood boil (and I didn't worry about anything for a few minutes while I fumed). The absolutely worst retailer in the country, or probably the world, and that would be Wal-Mart (in case you didn't know already). Apparently, they are getting more aggressive to take a larger share of the grocery business here in Massachusetts.

I am trying to think of one good thing about Wal-Mart.... I can't. In the early 1980's, I remember visiting relatives in the Midwest and having a Wal-Mart pointed out to me as this horrible new store that had come in and was taking away all the local retail business. That was 25 years ago in southern Illinois. I don't think they have changed much.

People say 'well, I shop at Wal-Mart because of the prices'. Their business model says move into a market, undersell all the local competition and force them out of business, and then raise prices. Then people say 'I shop at Wal-Mart because they are the only store around'. This would be a case of their business plan in action. Now that they are the only store around, they can charge what they want.

They also have dirty stores, long lines, poor employment policies, and sell lots of crap. I have never had a pleasant shopping experience in a Wal-Mart - I do admit to being in them a few times and don't think I could write about them if I hadn't - but make a point of avoiding them as much as possible. It is possible not to shop at Wal-Mart.

First, one must forget the notion of buying everything in the same place. I agree Wal-Mart may have some cheap prices but no store can give you a deal on everything. Check the ads, read the signs - every store has its deals. Buy things at the right kind of store - don't expect to have one stop shopping. Also, plan your shopping. Don't succumb to 'deals'. Do some research first - decide where to go and what to get where.

I don't do all my shopping in any given store. I go to a farm stand for produce weekly. I go to Costco (a/k/a the anti-Wal-Mart)every month or two for paper goods, cat supplies, and meat. I go to Trader Joe's regularly (daily??? because I am forgetful - but I have chemo brain so I have an excuse) for the basics. Periodically I actually go to a regular grocery store for a few select things I can't get anywhere else like waxed paper sandwich bags, seltzer, fish, Worcestershire sauce (they don't sell it at TJ's and Costco only has it in life time supply bottles), etc. If I go some place where there is only a Wal-Mart, I find I can usually shop ahead of time, find another store, and make do with out.

As the American consumer, we are spoiled in that we want one stop everything. But Wal-Mart is too high a price to pay. Did you see the movie 'Wall-E'... Funny how the big box company that had taken over the world had a scary resemblance.

Anyway, I just got to vent about something besides my health issues for once. I will say my blister is only a little sore today. Drastic bandaid/moleskin action may be required. Today I have to get my act together. I am going for a walk to make up for the fact that Sunday I only took a little bitty walk and yesterday I went to the gym and got there with only one sneaker (so I ended up on the stationary bike and lifted weights)!!!!! I was going to try to walk later or go to the gym but no I am going to motivate and go walk NOW quick, before I run out of time. I am overscheduled again today - I have a meeting at 930 and then have to go into Boston for a job interview (yippee) and want to meet friends for lunch first. Then I have my support group too. And I have to make the volunteer phone calls I forgot to do yesterday. Otherwise not much to do...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Only a blister and the dog stole my mitten


We had a great weekend away and I only got a blister. We drove up on Thursday and had lunch in Glens Falls at a brew pub (my ultimate husband bribe - there's a museum "no, I don't want to go" and a brew pub "okay, let's go"). We arrived at our destination (Say hi to Fred (the moose)) outside of Lake Placid and I realized I left my ski pants at home. So we immediately turned around and drove down to Lake Placid and enjoyed the tropical temperatures while walking around. It was somewhere below zero and the wind was about 20 mph. We'll just say it was very, very, very cold.

When we returned to the Loj, I looked at the indoor/outdoor thermometer and thought it read 14 below. I was informed I was probably looking at the centigrade and I should check the other one. Well that said 25 below Centigrade. Later in the weekend we determined that thermometer reads a little low. But since that was at 5 pm, I think its safe to assume the temperature dropped over night. Saturday we waited for the temperature to get up to above 5 degrees before setting out. It was a nice hike up to the Marcy Dam. We stopped to rearrange layers and have a snack at one of the lean-tos when a big chocolate lab came bounding by, followed by his owner. The dog grabbed one of my mittens and ran around behind the lean-to in the loose snow. After some argument, the dog gave up on my mitten and let me have it back (covered in doggy drool). Because we had a slightly longer break than anticipated and it was maybe 10 degrees, we got a chill. We tried going a little further but decided to turn back.

On the way back, my right boot started rubbing and I got a blister. That was the only injury for the weekend. Well, only may not be the right word. Its only about 1" across and is a big red sore spot on my heel right now. It did make me forget about my back hurting for a while.

Sunday morning, we wanted to go out again on snow shoes but I had to deal with my blister first using mole foam (moleskin for hard core injuries) and second skin and then more mole foam. This worked all the way out and most of the way back on our hike. But about 1/2 mile from the Loj, I ended up taking off my snow shoes and walking on the packed snow to see if I could relieve some of the pressure on my little bitty blister.

Now my back did relatively well hiking. After I lightened my pack up. Saturday I set up with a platypus bladder of water and a spare bottle of water. My back did not like that at all. I dumped out the spare bottle because we decided we had enough water and my back was hurting. Then the tubes for the platypus froze so we dumped the water from the platypus into the empty water bottle and Walter stuck it in his pocket. (The solution for a heavy pack is to give everything to your husband.) We did have plenty of water in the end. My back was pretty sore Friday night but okay on Saturday and Sunday. Right now, it is so so, but I am blaming the fact that the cat insists on sitting on my lap while I type. (He was very lonely and as a result, is a royal pain in the butt today. He won't leave me alone.)

Today is back to reality. I have to work from home, go for a walk, and go to work. I think I have to pay attention to the cat as well. (As if he would let me ignore him.) Now that we have returned, I realize that I get to go to Lahey once a week every week for the rest of the month, plus physical therapy twice a week. So I guess that means three visits a week.... Arrrrgggghhhhh!!!!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Further proof they dont know anything

So today's news has a big article on how they think they finally have caught the Chicago Tylenol killer from 1982. I was actually going to college in southern Wisconsin at the time and we all dutifully threw away our Tylenol capsules. So they are a little slow in the crime solving business sometimes but they always get their man. Isn't that what the FBI says? (Its someone's motto but I have chemo brain and can't remember.)

Also in the news is further proof that they don't know squat about curing cancer. Evidently, what was thought to be a powerful new drug combination for colon cancer, actually makes it worse. They did a little trial and the results looked promising. Then they wanted further testing and found out oopsy, it has the wrong effect. This is a very good example of why you should never believe the little sound bites that come up on the news and why further testing is always good.

In addition, in the news (can you tell I read the paper this morning?) was an article on how seals need to have their teeth brushed too. Our problem is the cat has fish breath just like the seals do. But he will not allow us to brush his teeth. Actually, he doesn't have bad teeth, he has bad gums. My husband's comment after watching this video was 'do they make house calls?'

This morning I am being prodded to get moving. We are going to the Adirondacks for a few days for snow shoeing. Yes, I am taking my back pain in to the great white north. That's okay, I have prescriptions which I am taking too. We are going to stay at the Loj at Heart lake which has no TV, computers, cell phone coverage, radio. But it does have yummy food and prime access to a few billion billion snow flakes which will make us happy. Of course, the flowers are really blooming now and I will miss them.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Life is not fair


In case you hadn't figured it out yet, life just isn't fair. Last fall, I planted an amaryllis bulb to force for Christmas. Apparently, I have a slow amaryllis because it missed Christmas and is now blooming. What isn't fair is that finally after months of waiting, it bloomed and we are going away for a long weekend tomorrow morning and will miss its blooming.
To add insult to injury, my geranium which spent the summer outside, has now decided to finally bloom inside as well. Perhaps the cat can enjoy them in our absence (and not nibble on their leaves).

In the meantime, yesterday I ran around and did my errands in the morning but when I tried to go to work in the afternoon, the hill we live on was not sanded. I tried to go but ended up sliding back down the hill (I really hate the sliding backwards while in a car business). Today as a result, I need to get to work earlier and see if I can get everything done. I also have finish packing today so we can leave bright and early tomorrow.

Have I mentioned recently that my back hurts? I just wanted to be sure. It hurt a lot last night. Perhaps I did something to aggravate it - like wash the dishes or cook dinner. Anyway, I was not happy so I took a pain pill and found out, they make me fall asleep. So at least I got a relatively good night's sleep for once.

I also managed to waste entirely too much time on the internet yesterday. First I had to check out the new Ocean feature in Google Earth. Its actually pretty cool. If you download the new version, released yesterday, it contains ocean information now with links to video etc. Very cool (and a giant time suck). Then I went to blogs about Google Earth and found out there is another feature on hiking trails so I went down that path of giant internet time suck. Finally, I ended up watching this video on MRIs from the Mayo Clinic. If you have never had an MRI (or have had one and wondered how they really work), this is very informative.

See how much time I am wasting online already and its not even 730am? Time to get moving!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dealing with Bureaucracies (Or how to maintain high blood pressure)

I had such a fun day yesterday (not!). In an effort to raise my blood pressure, I dealt with several bureaucracies simultaneously.

First, I had to deal with my car. It would not start on Sunday, nor again yesterday after several tries. I called AAA and they said a tow truck would be here with in an hour. Fine, I can deal with that. An hour later they called and said he would be another 20 minutes. Half an hour later, he showed up and said 'my truck is too big to get your car out of the driveway. I'm not pushing it by hand. I'll call in and they will send another smaller truck.' He said it would be about 25-30 minutes. He also told me that he thought it sounded like my timing belt. half an hour later I called AAA again for an update and after 15 minutes on hold, I was told it would be another 45 minutes. 15 minutes later, they called back and said the driver was out front. Driver number 2 pushed the car out of the driveway by hand and towed it to the garage. The mechanic got it started in 5 minutes and said it was only flooded. This saga took three hours to resolve. My blood pressure was just ducky.

In the meantime, I called the doctors office to reschedule. I was told that the doctor's schedule had changed and she wasn't available the day my appointment was originally scheduled. It hadn't been rescheduled right away as the scheduling person was waiting to see if a week which had been frozen on the doctor's calendar in May would open up. I don't know why they didn't tell me this on Friday. Now I have an appointment with the physician's assistant on the exact same time and date as my original doctor appointment. At least I will have the physical I am due for and I can get in to see the doctor later if they find anything (which we will just assume they won't).

Also, because i really wanted to punish myself (and I was stuck here), I decided it was time to straighten out some stock certificates I have. I have shares with one company but two accounts in two batches because one set was a gift from my grandfather and the other shares I purchased later on. And the accounts are in my married name. I sent in the paperwork a few weeks ago to start this but they sent it back and said I need to send in the certificates. I have no idea where the certificates are so I wanted to find information online. Of course, their website froze on me. Then I called, but the wrong number, so after being on hold for 10 minutes I was given the right number. They told me they will send me the new certificate and then I have to send it back to them with the form they have already sent back to me. Then the name change can be done. Also, their website requires Internet Explorer not Firefox (they could have put this on their website).

In the meantime of all these phone calls and fun interactions, the physical therapy people called to reschedule my initial consult, I talked to friends and family members, and the phone just kept ringing. This was all before 1130am. I really needed a walk and it was 45 degrees out. Then I went to work (and the phone rang all afternoon).

Today I hope will be less stressful but I do have a big list of things to do today. Return overdue library books, go to the gym, see my therapist, follow up on the job that called me last week (and never returned my other call), laundry, buy milk, vacuum the living room, make calls for volunteer work, and go to work. I think thats it but I am sure my tiny brain has allowed me to forget something important. Oh, and its going to snow so I will be driving around all day on crappy roads. Joy of joys!

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm blaming the cat.

My back didn't really hurt yesterday even though I went to the gym and used the machines and went snow shoeing. It hurt in the morning while sorting laundry but was mostly okay. This morning, I woke up and it was fine. Then I had to move the (delicate little 16 lbs of lard) cat because he was in the way on the bed and my back started hurting. So its his fault that my back hurts today. So now I can be whiney as a result.

At least I wasn't doing something like this guy. If I fell off my bike on the ice, it would hurt. However I do like his hassle free commute.

Further proof in the on going saga of what they don't know about cancer can be found here. Or we can just argue that there really is a giant secret plot to confuse us all. I am not sure which but what is very clear is that doctors really just want us to eat green vegetables. Maybe they are in collusion with the broccoli growers of America. (See I can always come up with a link for a conspiracy theory.)

Today's big project is to make phone calls for the American Cancer Society. I said I would and forgot. Perhaps I should have read my email last week which contained the reminder and the phone numbers. Oops! Now I have three days to make thirty phone calls around all my other commitments.

But first today's really big project is to see if the car will start. It did not want to start yesterday. I think it might have been flooded. If it won't start today, I will walk the one whole block to the gas station and see if they will come and help me start it. If not, I will call AAA and get it towed there. I can live with out it today. Tomorrow and Wednesday would start to get tricky with out it.

But before all that I get to call the doctor's office and have a 'discussion' about rescheduling my canceled appointment. That should be fun. I hate talking to big corporations who have 'rocket scientists' on their phones.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Another list

Here is another list of things that make my back hurt. Or perhaps things that I am doing when my back starts hurting:

1. sitting
2. standing
3. walking
4. lying down (so should I give up sleeping?)
5. doing dishes (time to delegate this)
6. sorting laundry (ditto)
7. thinking (maybe I should stop?)
8. cooking breakfast (but I was hungry)

I woke up and my back was fine. I sorted laundry and made Belgian waffles for breakfast and now my back hurts. It doesn't hurt too badly but it isn't playing nice. However now that I have eaten some food I can take my anti-inflammatory pill which may help. I won't take a pain pill because then I will probably fall asleep.

Anyway, yesterday I went and got educated on how to be a volunteer. Actually it was a very good training session sponsored by the American Cancer Society Relay For Life. They have other training on advocacy later that I might go to as well. Today I have to finish the press release and send it out to a bunch of places. I also have to meet a friend for snow shoeing as well as do six loads of laundry. (For some reason this week we have tons of laundry.) Tonight we are having pizza night while we watch the Superbowl. Home made pizza is much healthier than take out. I will just ignore my back and suffer in silence all day long.