Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Getting bad medical news

But first a word on swine flu. Whenever I hear more of the insane media hype on swine flu, all I can think of is Kevin Bacon at the end of Animal House:


I have seen much debate recently on how one should receive bad medical news. (No, I have not recently received any bad medical news.) Basically Parade Magazine, that intellectual publication, had an article and online poll in their most recent issue. Currently 78% for in person vs. 22% for over the phone. Then the Livestrong blog picked this up as well and continued the debate.

I disagree that there is a generic right or wrong way to tell a patient the news. the correct answer to this debate is 'whatever the patient prefers'. At this point in my life, if I have a procedure, operation, biopsy, etc. one of my first questions is when will the results be ready and how soon can I get them. I often get the standard reply of 'you will get the results at your follow up appointment'. Well, I don't want to wait that long, when do you think you will have the pathology. Then I get usually get told a much shorter time frame. Sorry, cancer twice and I am not waiting two weeks to be told my biopsy results - especially when I know the doctor's office gets them much sooner.

At my gall bladder surgery, I asked and was told I would get the pathology results at my follow up two weeks later. I said that was too long, when would they be available and was told something like 3 days. Well on day four I called and asked and the doctor called me back that day. I was much less stressed than sitting around for another ten days waiting to hear. Also, that way if it was 'bad' news, I had time to stew and digest and learn and educate myself so at my follow up appointment I would be armed with questions and then leave with more of a treatment plan.

If you prefer to get the information at an appointment that's fine. That's your choice. There is no one size fits all in medicine and everyone has their own wants and needs. Every cancer is different and so is every patient. As a patient, you are responsible for making sure your doctor understands your needs and how and when you want to be told about your diagnosis. Don't fall into the trap of their standard procedures. If your doctor tells you that you must come in for an appointment to get the results and you don't want to wait that long, ask them why that is the case. There should be some consideration of the patient here.

I am all for empowering the patient but the patient needs to make sure they stand up for their rights and asks about options.

Reading the instructions

Yesterday I had another fun adventure. Last year I had a rash on the area that was radiated. Four doctors looked at it and no one could figure it out. Finally a dermatologist said take the wait and see approach because she didn't want to biopsy the radiated skin due to excessive scarring. Well it came back and this year on my arm and leg so they sent me to a new dermatologist who gave me the option of wait and see or biopsy it. I said I have already waited and it came back so I would prefer the biopsy. She biopsied the place on my right thigh. So now I have a big bandaid, a single stitch, and get to wait two weeks (more of that patient patient crap that I am so good at - along with suffering in silence).

Whenever you have a 'procedure' they give you written directions to take home. Usually they give them to you just before the procedure to distract you from the impending 'little pinch' and say its all written down for you to take with you. Well that's just fine and dandy. You have to remember to read them later on when you aren't distracted by needles and people asking questions. I have two weeks of being patient to worry about potential issues. From Mondays little needle, I should be concerned about: severe pain that you have never felt before; new numbness or weakness in your legs; loss of control of your bowels or bladder; or signs of infection (like fever, or red or warm skin where you were injected). Too bad the injection was in the middle of my back so I will have to ask for assistance in checking it.

From yesterday's little adventure, I need to keep the area dry for 24 ours; remove the bandage after 24 hours; learn the area twice daily with soap and water; allow area to dry, apply a layer of Vaseline; cover with a clean bandage (provided); continue would care until the stitches are removed (or in the case of no stitches, until the area is healed). If you should experience any bleeding at the biopsy site, apply direct pressure for 20 minutes (no peeking!). If you are still bleeding after this process, apply a second course of pressure for 20 minutes. Call if this does not control the bleeding. If you encounter any problem in following these instructions or if signs of marked redness, tenderness, pain, fever and/or discharge occur, call the office. After I got home from work I read these instructions and noticed bleeding under the bandaid but not through the bandaid.

Should I practice my patient patient skills or just pretend I am normal and be crabby and stressed? I was crabby and stressed last night. It was hot. I got home late, had to rush around. Burned dinner. Was very crabby. Was told to sit down and drink a glass of wine before being crabbier.

Today it is 47 degrees this morning (yesterday was a high of 93). I am going for a walk now and then some 'rocket scientists' are coming to remove the bird's nests from the gutter helmet which is supposed to prevent all animals and birds from getting in to your gutters. We have two birds nests. I was told on the phone 'they probably need to be readjusted'. Well, I have been waiting a month and now think we have baby birds instead of just a nest. I want to be home when they arrive so we can see about relocating the nests instead of just destroying them. (Perhaps I have some latent crabbiness lingering here....)

I do need to add that although my back isn't 100% it is substantially better than over the weekend. that could be due to the fact that I have been able to start taking my pills again. Last night I got about 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, was up for an hour or so and then got another hour. I'm shooting for 8 solid hours of uninterrupted sleep. Some day??? Please?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

An adventure with follow ups

Just some day I want to leave a doctor without them saying anything more than 'see you in a year'. Yesterday I had my physical. What a fun start to the day. I went to the blood lab for a blood test. Then today I am going to the dermatologist to look at the rash from last year that came back. I was told then it was probably either an eczema or psoriasis type thing but she didn't want to biopsy it because it was on the area of my skin that was radiated with would cause lots of scarring. Well, now its on my arm and leg so may be a biopsy? How fun? In two places? Double the fun! Eczema is an allergic reaction. Psoriasis is an immune system type thing. Allergies I can deal with.

Next Monday I get to go for an abdominal ultrasound to figure out if its just a bunch of scar tissue in my lower abdomen or a 'something else'. Once you have cancer, you don't get to just have an undiagnosed 'something else'. They like to take lots of pictures and images and then biopsies sometimes too. I also get to go for the annual photograph of the 'granuloma' (just a fancy word for thingamabob in my lungs which I have had for years and years). They just like to have pictures of it every year. (Can you picture the photo series: the aging of the granuloma?)

After that wonderful adventure, I met a friend who works at the hospital for a chat and then I went to the pain clinic. There was a very nice man who was also a patient who was back for a second shot because the one he had five years ago stopped working. He had a cane and told me that the 'needle was as big as his cane'. That made little old needle-phobic me more comfortable. So I got him back because he was the patient after me. I told the doctor (who also has a sense of humor) and nurses about his comments. They made sure to tell him they were getting the really big needle for him.

My question though is why does the local they give you hurt so much when they put it in? It was very painful. The injection then was not painful but the steroids spreading down my legs was. But then it went away. But then it was achy. I got an ice pack. I went home with my ice pack and leaned against it and watched trashy romance novels made into crappy movies on TV with my cat and a cup of herbal tea. Then I felt better. Actually I did feel okay. I was not allowed to drive for the rest of the day because of the local. Last night my hip was sore more than my back - interesting twist. This morning I feel okay. I got to start taking my anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants again so I took some as soon as I got home.

The next step is to see how the shot is working in two weeks. I will call and we will discuss. If it is working well, we will move on to resolving the other issues in my back - the doctor said 'you have lots of things wrong with your back'. If it is working so-so, I will get a second shot about a month later and then we will move on to the other issues. If it didn't really work, then we will move on to the yet to be disclosed Plan B for my lower back issues. This is not a single visit thing. I should have the results of all my tests and other adventures in a couple of weeks so I'll go back to being the patient patient and suffer in silence a while longer.

On the good news front, the cat's giant lump on his jaw seems to be somewhat smaller and he seems a little perkier. This means perhaps it is only an abscess (and that he might need surgery) which is better than untreatable cancer. Now he can become the patient patient like me. He is happy to be a patient provided his life involves lots of kitty treats.

Now today once again, I am overscheduled. I am going for my daily walk (which I missed yesterday), doing some volunteer work, taking the car for an oil change, going to the doctor, and then to work at 1pm. Perhaps its time to get off the time suck of a computer and get moving.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Your day will be better than mine

Today is not a fun day. I am starting the day off with a physical, including a pelvic exam. Doesn't that sound like the highlight?? And then to top it off, I get the big needle thing as well. I was stupid and looked it up. I did not need to see the picture. Icky, ewy, yucky! I hate needles. If you are getting a root canal or something, it is possible your day will not be as fun as mine but right now, I think mine is the top of the list.

The cat is unchanged in his health. He acts the same and his jaw is still swollen. I found the way to get pills in him works sometimes but not all - get him to try to grab a treat, give him one, then a pill, and then another treat and he doesn't even realize what I did. But when he does spit it out (like last night), he had a smurf blue tongue and teeth (they have a blue coating on them). Nothing like a cat with a smurf blue mouth.

Yesterday we went to the beach. I did not get a sunburn. If you get a sunburn the day before a doctor visit, you get lectures. I used lots of sun screen. Someone else (who went with me and shall remain nameless) said "I don't need any sunscreen on my feet" and now has little rectangles of sunburn between his teva straps. We also went out for clams to ensure I am in the prime of my health before my physical. But for dinner we just had a big salad.

Did I mention my back hurt? Yes it did. It does not like sitting, standing, lying down, walking, riding in a car, etc. I iced it for a good deal of the afternoon and it was somewhat more cooperative. I assume that for my lovely 'procedure' they will give me a local and some other drugs so it will stop hurting. Then I can start taking all my other pills later today.

You may think its early but I have to be ready to leave in an hour and I still have to shower, get dressed, and get organized. Walter is dropping me off early on his way to work so I will eat breakfast at the hospital. (And then go get weighed as part of my physical - how smart was that?) My parents will giv me a ride home. This is one of those things that require transportation. Anyway, I should be home by early afternoon and will probably need a nap before I have a phone interview. But then all this shall be behind me and my day will be looking up by then.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

In a rush today

We wanted to head to the beach early - because its going to get cold later and high tide is early afternoon. The plan was go to the beach for the morning, go out for lunch and then return home. We slept later than we meant to which means we are now running later than we wanted.

The big news is the vet came for the cat yesterday. He might have an abscess on his jaw so he is on antibiotics. If so, they should start working in a day or so and then once the swelling goes down, we will evaluate and he might need a tooth or two pulled or something. But if not, she thinks its cancer for which there is nothing we can do. She thought he might have a tumor before which was causing his eye problems and now with this second swelling, she is more suspicious of it than before. Also, he is acting fine and eating well. He doesn't complain if you press on the lump. These are all signs it is not an abscess. This is very sad. We will know in a few days. He's only 14.

In the meantime, I have to give him an antibiotic twice a day. He hates pills. He will not open his mouth for me. But he will open his mouth for kitty treats. So this morning, I fed him a kitty treat. Then he thought he was getting another treat, but I dropped a pill into his open mouth. Then I gave him another treat. I hope he doesn't figure this out. I don't need a twice daily wrestling match with the determined kitty. He is very strong.

Tomorrow is big needle day. I would rather stress about kitty than big needles but we are going to the beach so I won't stress about anything but back pain.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The 'war' on cancer

Click on the comic to enlarge it to a legible size.
I think this summarizes the situation pretty well. The cancer patient at the end is someone I actually 'know' online.

Yesterday's article in the New York Times on the 'war' on cancer provides some further food for thought. The death rates for cancer aren't changing because it hasn't been figured out yet. (I am still waiting for that Star Trek world where cancer has been cured in the 21st century.) Color me cynical but my back hurts.

I was wondering if the anti-inflammatories I have were doing any good. Now that I can't take them, I can tell you they were having an effect. Crabbiness will abound between pain and lack of sleep. Right now my back, neck, shoulder, and hip hurt... Grrr, grr, grr.

I did find out yesterday that my check in time on Monday is 1030am. I said 'I have a 9 am physical scheduled' which the scheduling nurse knew about. The reply I got yesterday was 'if you are late, we will need to cancel and reschedule'. Hello! Not happening. I will not be late. I will go to my first doctor and tell them I have to be at the 1030 appointment. I think I will be fine but if I need blood tests or other follow ups, I may need to return for them in a few days instead of taking care of them right after my appointment. I did ask if I can take an anti-anxiety pill before hand if I start to get stressed (who me?). The answer was I can take anything like that I want as long as I am coherent enough to respond to their requests while on the table. I am not sure how that makes me feel but I think I will definitely take a pill after my physical. I don't think I should go to my physical while 'under the influence'.

In the meantime, I need to pull together my lists to take on Monday - questions to ask, medications I am on (way too long at this point), and allergies. Not looking forward to it.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Connecting the dots

Monday morning I get to have my fun and games (and giant needle) adventures so I thought it would be prudent to read the paperwork they gave me before then. I actually glanced at it before but it didn't really sink in. I mean there are the details they gave in the fine print that say things like: "An ESI (epidural Steroid injection) is the injection of a steroid medication mixed with saline into the epidural space in your spine (neck or back). The epidural space is located in the spine just outside the sac containing your spinal fluid."

Or "the area of injection is cleaned with a cleaning solution (Iodine), draped and the doctor will numb the skin and underlying tissue with a local anesthetic injection. This will sting a little for a few seconds. A needle is then advanced into the epidural space."

Or "The steroid usually takes 48 hours to take effect. some people actually have an increase in their pain level temporarily. Local soreness from the needle is also expected. You may take your usual pain medications for this. Also, using an ice pack at the site of injection may help as well. There is a chance that the injection provides no relief."

I like the parts about 'sting a little for a few seconds' and the chance it might not work. Actually I was told it works for about 60% of the people who get them. And if it works, it only lasts for six months. They can give you up to three six weeks apart every six months. So if it does work, I can go through it again, and again, and again, and again.

I was so overjoyed with these tidbits of information, I went on to read the next sheet:

1. You must have a driver home post procedure. (I do and I have a back up driver if needed.)
2. You may eat and drink prior to your procedure, we recommend that you have a light meal. (Hmmm... if I am stressed, I may not want to eat.)
3. No aspirin for 7 days prior to the procedure. (I don't take aspirin.)
4. About blood thinners and was crossed off.
5. No anti-inflammatories for 2 days prior to the procedure (ibuprofen, motrin, advil, aleve, lodine, naprosyn, relafen, etc. And the nurse wrote in etodolac and robaxim which are my anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant. (So what do I get to take all weekend? I can just be in pain so I can get my pain relief shot that may or may not work?)

The list goes on and I have more pages but I am done reading. I don't want to know any more. The dots are now connected. I will be in pain for the next four days - 2 days with no drugs before and 2 days after with pain from the injection. Can anything be more fun than that?

Anyway, in the meantime, today I am going to work and then for a walk with a friend and then a manicure. For dinner, we are cooking on the grill for the first time of the season. Its finally going to be nice this weekend and we hope to make the most of it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Another day

Today is another day where I am running late - already. I can't believe it but I have wasted time on the internet already today and now have to run around like a crazed person so I can get to work on time. Damn.

Also, more not so new news. My mystery rash that I had a year ago, has reappeared. On my arm and leg. I would call the doctor but since I have the ointment from last year I will try that and talk to my doctor about it on Monday. I know people in this world who actually have to call their doctor to report an ailment and ask what to do. Me, I get to just wait for the next time I go see one of them.

Again in the not new news category, the cat seems to have developed a new ailment. His jaw looks funny. He is acting normally and eating normally and generally being his normal pain in the butt self but he looks like he went three rounds in a boxing ring. I will put this in the wait and see category because he looks funny but doesn't seem to be feeling bad (if his appetite is any measurement).

I actually slept for about six hours last night - so I feel somewhat rested. For a change. But when I woke up at the lovely hour of 4 am my left leg was very sore - to the point I had to get up and walk around. Then when I lay back down, it instantly started hurting again - as soon as my back hit the mattress. I will also add this to the list of things to discuss with the pain doctor (as opposed to my primary care doctor) on Monday.

Yesterday I made my back hurt (well hurt slightly more than it probably would have hurt if I behaved myself). First I assembled two small bookcases that I got at Target. Walter carried them upstairs and then I rearranged everything in my closet so I could put the shelves down at the end and refill them with the stuff that was crammed on the floor and the single shelf that was in there. Now I can find things but my back definitely hurt. I also uncovered one last box of stuff that I never unpacked from when we moved in, over four years ago. So I pulled it out and stuck it right in the middle of the floor in my 'tidy' clean office where I will go through it and sort it out... At some point. I did pull out a few things like the bag of twist ties from my junk drawer in my old apartment...

Like I said today I am running late and have to be at work in one hour. Between now and then, I need to take a shower, figure out what to wear, get dressed, eat breakfast, wash the dishes, do my exercises, pack my lunch, and take something out of the freezer to make for dinner tonight (which is actually very complicated because we were going to have pasta and sauce but I am not in the mood for it so I have to come up with something else to eat). I have to leave in 50 minutes. Can I do it? Perhaps. If I get off the damn computer.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Its all connected

Just like the song says:

The foot bone connected to the leg bone,
The leg bone connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the back bone,
The back bone connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone connected to the head bone...

Basically I have tingling from my left foot and lower leg with pains all up through my hip, back and shoulders into my neck and around into the right side of my face and jaw. Its all connected. Some times I have lots of pain, sometimes I am just uncomfortable and there are rare moments when nothing hurts.

The funny thing is that two years ago I went on a snowshoeing trip and came home in amazing amounts of pain and basically couldn't walk. After suffering (in silence as I do so well) for a couple of days, I went to the doctor and was told I had bursitis in my hip. Ice and advil were the prescription. A couple of months later, I went to my primary care for a follow out and mentioned this little adventure to her. She referred me to a neurologist because I complained about tingling in my foot and lower leg. At the time the EMG came back clean but then I was diagnosed and we said 'let's just put this on the back burner for a while'. Now voila, its all related to my stupid back. Should have paid attention to the stupid song a two years ago. Who needs medical school when we have music to tell it like it is?

Call me cynical this morning but yesterday my back was cooperative most of the day and through going out with friends. Then driving home, my back started to hurt a lot - good thing it was a ten minute drive. Last night I woke up at 230 am, took another pill, iced my back for a bit, and then got back to sleep approximately 30 minutes before the alarm went off. This means a total of about 5 hours of sleep.

Now all this lack of sleep causes weight gain. I found proof of this while at the gym yesterday and reading a highly intellectual magazine - either Glamour or Cosmopolitan, I can't remember which, they just sort of blurred together - both highly reputable journals. There was an article about how you can lose weight simply by sleeping at least 7.5 hours a night. I am not getting my 7.5 or 8 hours and my scale is going in the wrong direction. Now I know there is a correlation.

Yesterday I also managed to get to work, do some work, and then do my part to help the economy by shopping, and then met friends for dinner. Today I have to build the shelves I bought for storage in my closet. I could wait for the weekend for assistance and if my back hurts I will but now I want to get organized. Actually I have to motivate and get moving again this morning... All this running late business is a little stressful.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Such an 'original' idea

So when I was diagnosed nearly two years ago, I had the oh so 'original' idea to start a blog to keep family and friends informed of my medical adventures. Who would have thought that anyone else in the world would be this original as well? Apparently, lots of people use blogs to document their medical lives as well? Or their tries to get to a new normal after medical lemons have messed with their lives?

I have found many other blogs to read and then started following them and then starting reading and following ones that others are reading and then spending hours every day reading and following blogs. I have tried to restrain myself and organize who I read and follow but then I diversify and find more.

Here are some of the blogs I read most often:

- Life's Funny Like That - well written adventures in breast cancer land.

- Adventures of Baldy Locks - I really like her blue wig. And her sense of humor.

- Dancing with Cancer - living with cancer, four times

- The Lloyd Newsletter - life with the brain tumor named Lloyd - why can't you name them?

- My Cancer Deployment - another series of adventures in cancerland. She lists her interests as 'not having cancer'. Me too!

Then people start posting links to other lists of other blogs like this one of the top 30 cancer blogs and this one on Lemondrop. So I wasn't so original after all. (A note of caution here is that once you start clicking on the links and reading other people's stories you become hopelessly addicted and want to keep reading to make sure they are okay. Then you realize two hours have gone by and you are now late for work.)

Who also would have thought it would have gone on so long. Nearly two years of medical adventures. I was told a cancer diagnosis is a year out of your life. Well, maybe we are past cancer and we can just talk about the continuing saga of what is wrong with me next. Back pain induced insomnia is a wonderful time to lie in bed staring at the ceiling and thinking what is wrong now. I mean is that pain related to my back issues or is it something new? Is it a headache or a brain tumor? Is fatigue due to anemia or leukemia? See how easy it is to start down that path as well? (Perhaps my fatigue today is due to the fact that yesterday I went on a really long walk and I have been awake since 4 am? But the little voices in my head are telling me otherwise.)

Yesterday I did watch the Boston Marathon. It was a very close race in the end. Then I went for a walk and found a parade. Yes the clown is directing traffic. Then I walked through the burned conservation land. There are acres of burned areas - both marsh and wooded. But last night and today we got a lot of rain and that should help in the regrowth.

Today I am only a little bit overscheduled. It is school vacation week which means I am working mornings, instead of afternoons (and feeling a little discombobulated as a result). My schedule is backwards: go to work, then work from home and go for a walk. But it keeps me busy. And now I am running late (already) so its time to get moving.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Losing my nice

This weekend I caught myself being a crabby b*tch several times. Unfortunately pain and lack of sleep making me lose my 'nice' at times. You try it - don't get enough sleep, live on pain meds, wake up in pain nightly, and never get enough rest - and then try to be a normal nice person. Ain't happening. A body needs sleep and freedom from pain to be nice all the time. I think I shall just go hide under a rock until this ends. That way I don't have to worry about offending anyone if I don't interact with them.

Today I am preparing for the Boston Marathon. I have a schedule to keep. The first racers in the wheel chair division go at 922am (don't know why it isn't 930, or 920, or even 925 - sort of like why do baseball games start at 135 or 705), then the women start, then the elite men and then all the rest. The wheel chairs should finish by the time the runner's races start to get interesting. Then the Red Sox start at 11 am so I can even flip channels by myself. Well the cat will accompany me throughout this. He thinks when I watch TV, I am doing it for his comfort and he might get treats. This will occupy me until about 130 when I will go for a walk and see the beginning of the parade - where a friend's son is marching. Then run errands and that's my day.

Growing up in Lexington, I never realized that there was anything going on outside of town. In town, there is a kids parade (that I marched in probably 10 times - a rite of passage if you grow up in town), followed by pancake breakfasts, hang out with friends and then the big parade in early afternoon. We would make a day of it. I never knew there was a little road race going on near by. Then in the 1970's they added the reenactment - originally held in the afternoons but for a crowd control measure, they hold it at the actual time of 545am. Apparently riffraff doesn't get up early and cause problems. Now I skip most of the Patriots day stuff and watch everything on TV. How times have changed!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dreams

By the time I got home yesterday (from a fun filled, food filled day with friends), my back was very sore. I took my anti inflammatory and then when i went to bed, I took one of my new handy, dandy pain meds (for moderate to moderately severe pain). This worked until about 130 am so I took a muscle relaxant and actually fell back asleep. A vast improvement over staring at the ceiling for hours and trying to figure out comfortable sleeping positions.

However, and this has some times happened before with pain meds, I had some weird dreams. In the first one, I lost all my bottles of prescription medications that I keep on my bedside table. There are only five right now... but I moved them and put them someplace 'safe' and couldn't find them. Then I freaked out and panicked and got my husband to help find them and we couldn't. Some of them, I could just suffer along with out them but my thyroid medicine keeps my metabolism moving and the tamoxifen keeps the cancer away (or that is the theory) so I was worried about finding them. No, I did not dream I could just go get refills. That would have been too easy. I prefer nice dreamless sleep where I wake up feeling rested and not stressed. Actually, a life where I feel rested and not stressed would be nice as well.

Yesterday we had a good day. We squished five of us into my car, which is not as big as I thought it was and went off for the day. When you go to a restaurant and can't decide on what to eat I recommend the solution of getting a sandwich with a friend who gets another sandwich and the trade halves. Quite a good solution and I got to try a Mediterranean tuna melt and a turkey club. Then we went consignment store shopping where I got some new clothes followed by a walk on the boardwalk in a national wildlife refuge and a very brief stroll on the beach - maybe five minutes. It was very cold.

After driving home, my back was not happy at all. I think I basically walked, sat, and drove too much yesterday. Today I will solve this by going for a nice walk with my husband to check out the big brush fire area near us and doing laundry. I am sure both of those will make my back feel better. I also have to get my plans in place for my annual Boston Marathon. More on that tomorrow.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

This is so sad

Yesterday afternoon, I went for a walk with a friend and on arriving home, I noticed fire trucks going up the main road - including a tanker truck which is never a good sign. The conservation land where I often go for walks had a massive brush fire - over 100 acres burned. The area itself is about 183 acres which means over half is charred. I know it happens and things will recover but new boardwalks were put in 2005 by volunteers. Everything was starting to get green as well.

I haven't heard anything on the cause so far. I had seen some signs of camp fires over the winter months and more recently. I suspect this would be from teenagers. But yesterday was a school day and the fire broke out at 1245 pm which kind of makes it less likely to be kids. Perhaps just a poorly discarded cigarette butt. We have been having a dry spell and the entire state (and most of New England) were under a red flag warning for yesterday because of the winds as well.

This is very sad. Perhaps tomorrow I will go take a look and see if I will be able to go for my walks. What about all the wildlife that are now displaced? I am sure the marshes are now full of soot and ash which probably aren't good for the turtles and frogs. There were dozens of birds living there as well.

What is a little more unsettling is I meet a former co-worker regularly for a walk each week. Yesterday she had suggested walking there where the fire was but I suggested a different loop at the other end of town which is where we ended up. A good thing or our walk would have brought us right into the middle of it all.

Otherwise, yesterday I did some gardening and have lots more buds. I hope we get some rain or I will have to start watering things outside. Today I am going with friends up to the coast to go to lunch and for a walk on the beach. It won't be super nice but it will be spring-like. Question - to wear shorts or not.

Yesterday my back was cooperative and relatively pain free. Last night the same and I actually slept for about six hours (courtesy of my new stronger pain meds). But this morning I was up getting an ice pack at 530am... Grrr.... My husband's theory is that I did too much gardening yesterday which made my back hurt today. But why then did I get to sleep all night and then wake up in pain??? No logic.

Friday, April 17, 2009

What if its all just a bad sci fi movie?

Yesterday I finally pulled together all my tiny brain cells and remembered to go to buy my new chemobrain book. At the checkout, the cashier looked at the book title and said 'Chemobrain? That sounds like a bad sci-fi movie.' I replied 'Don't I wish.'

Then I started thinking. What if this is all really just a bad sci-fi movie? I mean the cancer is a bunch of aliens in a spaceship (cancer cells in tumor) only some of them got out of the spaceship and may be wandering around the planet (your lymph system). Then surgery gets the tumor (space ship) but they have to send out teams of little pac man-like weapons (chemo molecules) to gobble up the cancer cells (aliens). Next they go to the missiles of the radiation treatment which targets the initial area of the invasion (tumor site) with a targeted focus to make sure there are no aliens hiding locally. Then boy meets girl, boy gets girl, they ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. Wouldn't it be nice if that's all it was? Big sigh. Maybe I shouldn't think that much...

Otherwise, yesterday I didn't get through as much work as I needed. Then I went to work. Then I came home and my lap top won't work. Currently, I am on hold with Dell to see if they can tell me why I get a 'The Group Policy Client service failed the logon. Access is denied.' message when booting up my brand new computer. I tried going to an online chat session with a support person but they say the queue is closed and to call. So I called and am listening to a recording thanking me for calling Dell, my wait time may exceed 10 minutes and telling me I should go online to get some immediate assistance with a chat session with a support representative. An evil loop of no support. Of course the best solution I have if they don't answer the phone is to return my computer and buy another one from someone else.

Today is not off to a stellar start to say the least. In addition, in trying to find something to unplug to plug in the laptop, I pulled the plug on my desktop while it was booting up so it needed to run a chkdsk to start and I had to wait for it. Now I am stuck in the evil loop of no support with the overly cheery person giving me useless advice. My wait of over 10 minutes is now up to 18... Joy of joys. And my back hurts and I probably got about 3 hours of sleep last night. Crabbiness may prevail.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Medical records

If you go to the same hospital for 28 years and have two cancers, 8 surgeries, a few million x-rays, blood tests, procedures, biopsies and tests, your medical file becomes this giant bloated pile of papers clipped together (and that's only the part they bring out for your visits). The bulk of it is kept in storage somewhere 'safe' where they can access it a few months notice. It took them approximately two months to find my pathology report from my first cancer diagnosis when they were searching for it. But it was under my maiden name which didn't help the process.

At each medical visit, I would watch my giant file grow and grow and grow. Then at surgery, it would be supplemented by separate little files from all my previous surgeries. Then at the last one, there was only a little binder full of electronic printouts relevant to the operation of the day (gall bladder removal or chole....stomy - a big word that I can't remember because I have chemo brain even though that is violation of my personal rule you can't have something you can't spell, pronounce or define).

Tuesday I went to the back doctor for bending and treatment decisions. He walked into the room without a giant pile of paper - he had a computer tablet with stylus attached and said here is my medical record. It was very cool. He could access all my test/procedure results (and was even impressed with how many I have had) but its only electronic for the past 2-3 years. So somewhere my giant file lives on. It clearly must be progress because he told me the system is set up so the file logs you out after 10 minutes of inactivity and it took him about a dozen tries to log back in to show me my MRI results again. Anyway, it was very cool.

There has been a lot in the news recently about electronic medical records because the VA has just switched to this system. Apparently only about 1.5% of hospitals in the country have made the switch as well. But the result is they reduce errors and as a result hospitals are safer - a 15% decrease in death rates. Which if you think about it is kind of scary that many deaths are attributed to human error.

Yesterday, I made progress in the electronic world. My new laptop arrived. I plugged it in and charged up the battery. Then I got to have fun with adding Norton Antivirus to it. We have an account for three computers so I simply wanted to add it to our existing account. Of course it didn't work. I downloaded the program, sent myself the product key, and got the message 'invalid product key' so I resorted to contacting customer support. You can't call them, you must IM or email. I opted for the live electronic support via IM. I got a rocket scientist. Apparently the latest product available is not the one we had so they had to uninstall and reinstall. They took over for remote diagnostics and I just watched - until they said 'I can't find the file I just saved to the desktop'. Very well trained support. I had to locate the file for them. To be fair, it is Windows Vista but you would think a support person would be trained in default file locations. But I believe, as their name was about 30 characters long and their typed English was a tad stilted, that they were located some place 'off shore'.

Anyway, today I have to have to work from home. I have a deadline - which means do it now before you start wasting time on Facebook and other online places or go for a walk or even glimpse at the garden. Then I have errands to run and have to go to work. I will also have to admire my new hair cut which is beginning to look like a real hair cut as opposed to all you can do with growing back from baldness look. Perhaps it is time to eat some breakfast and get to work.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ahem! Being a patient does mean you have patience!

Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting (and suffering in silence). Its all about me, its all about now. I am sick of being a patient patient. Yesterday I went to the pain doctor. I got there 10 minutes early (as they request) for my 830 appointment. Then I waited until after 9 for the nurse to come get me. She took my vitals (BP is 120/82 thank you very much), asked me some questions and said the doctor will be in to see me in a few minutes.

Half an hour later he shows up. After examining me (and bending me around and asking if it hurt) and asking a million questions, he said I have several things wrong with my back that are causing all this pain. He wants to start with the lower back and see if that can be resolved. Then he will move on to the other areas. This doesn't sound like a one stop trip here. He said the first thing to try is a cortisone shot in my spine - I HATE NEEDLES. If that doesn't work (60% of the time it does), they can try up to three shots, every six months. Then they can move on to more 'fun' options for the other areas. Pain radiates and when its your spine, it can hurt in your legs or neck far from the cause.

He left and said the nurse would be in to schedule the injection. So I waited another 20 minutes and she came in. The first available appointment is April 27 so I have to wait two weeks. Then I have to wait two weeks longer to see if the shot works. So that's another month. Great. #$%#%&*^&^$%$#$%&*(&*@&*&^%^$%%^&^&*##*!!!! (That's an unprintable grr, grr, grr.) My first doctor appointment for my back was December 30. And my back still hurts. And it may not stop for another month or more. No this doesn't make me crabby, it makes me very frustrated.

The injection is given in a surgical suite using a contrast agent (read get an IV - another needle) using x-rays to guide them so local anesthesia is given. Therefore I had to go down to pre-op admitting and wait around again to talk about insurance and health care proxy and living wills and 'as a hypothetical question if you are kept overnight do you want a clergy visit' conversations. It was a wonderful time!!! And the worst part was I finished my book 20 minutes after I arrived so I was reduced to 'waiting room literature' a/k/a People, Health, and Self magazines. Needless to say by the time I got home, my back was very sore, I missed my computer delivery, and was running late for the rest of my day. So I took pills and went for a walk to relieve stress.

One thing I did find out is that this is not genetic, I did not inherit anything from my parents to cause this. But it is just another 'lucky' event in the medical world for me. Or, we can call it another 'medical life lemon'. (I didn't make up that term but think it is appropriate.)

Today, I only have a really long day. Off to my therapist, then to get a hair cut, then to work, then to two volunteer meetings. Home around 8 or so tonight. We are having soup from the freezer for dinner. I also have to leave the thingy out for the Fed Ex guy to say its okay to leave my computer. I am dying to get it. A new gadget is a great reliever to back pain.

In the meantime, I am at war with the little rodents who are eating my plants. I put cayenne pepper in the garden last night. This is supposed to make plants less yummy to critters. All I know is it is cheap. My other choice is put the cat on a leash and keep him in the garden at all times. But since he hates the leash, I will stick with pepper.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hi ho, hi ho, its off to the pain clinic we go.

For the past couple of days, my back has been cooperating and allowing me periods in life where I wasn't in pain, and I actually got some sleep. I had a similar lull just before seeing the back specialist - I think it knows I am going off for more tests & procedures and is making a last ditch effort to avoid them. All day yesterday I was thinking, why do I need the pain clinic? Well driving home (2.5 miles/5 minutes) my back decided it needs a pain clinic. Then I didn't sleep much all night. Its not that I am stressed about the doctor visit, this is only a consultation - there should not be any big needles, but I went to bed at 945 and was up until about 1130, then at 2 and 4 when I finally gave up. Grrr... Crabbiness could prevail.

But as a crabbiness antidote, my new laptop is due to arrive today. I hope it comes before I go to work so I can leave it to charge all afternoon and can play with it tonight. Very exciting. (Okay, call me a geek when I get excited about a new laptop but I am going to have fun with it. And I know the user name and password finally for our local wi-fi so I'll be able to connect to the internet fairly easily. You are surprised about this but we had a wi-fi for about 3 years before I figured out the user name and password.)

In the meantime, I have to get my butt in gear and get ready to go to the doctor.I have to leave here in less than an hour and need to eat breakfast, shower, get dressed, and get my notes together. Perhaps I should stop procrastinating on line and get moving? Hmmm???

Monday, April 13, 2009

Stupid people

I am sure you realize by now that I have a low tolerance for stupid people. But this woman clearly takes the cake. What was she thinking? She was a polar bear snack? (Not related to a scooby snack at all.) Maybe she thought they were cute and playful? Maybe she 'forgot' they have the capability to kill.

So here I am complaining about stupid people again when I am clearly in the brainless category. I forget everything. So for this weekend I made a list of things to do so I would be relatively productive. Well, I lost my list and didn't get any of them done. So now as a result, I have to be very busy today. Which will keep me inside for a while and hopefully it will warm up so I can go for a walk and do a little gardening. It was 31 degrees this morning, wind chill in the teens. (This is spring in Boston.)

Two more days until my new laptop arrives. But I shouldn't get too excited because that is the scheduled delivery day and will I actually be here when they show up? I have no idea. And these days have a way of changing.

I now have to get motivated and get moving. Perhaps breakfast will be a good start. Then work, then walk, gardening, and go to work.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Memory

I have no memory. I have no brain. I can't remember anything. Yesterday we went to Costco, with a small list. We came home with what we had on the list but then I promptly started another list of the things that we forgot to buy that were the reason we went in the first place. We couldn't remember them long enough for them to make it on the list. Never mind that I had a coupon cut out for one of them all ready to go. What a moron.

Speaking of memory, of which I clearly have none, last Sunday I said I was going to get the book on chemo brain. Well, I keep forgetting to get it. Mental note to self: plug in brain at all times. Yesterday I met with some cancer friends and was telling them about the book and couldn't remember the name or the title and said I would email them the information... So far I haven't remembered to do that either.

Does anyone else see the irony in this? Yesterday I went to the gym instead of walking outside (it was 38 degrees and raining, changed to sleet) and walked on the treadmill instead. I kept increasing my time on the treadmill so I could watch the end of my cooking show on a cake making contest.

So my yesterday was not very exciting. (My back hurt but that's not really news any more.) Today I am going for a walk with a friend, going to the farm stand, and my parents are coming over for dinner. Not because its Easter but just because. I also have to remember to do the things I need to do - like online portfolio for job hunting and making my lists for my doctors. Wake up brain cells! Time to get to work.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Random news flashes

1. My back hurts. My back hurts a lot today. It was fine most of yesterday and then driving home from dinner it decided to start hurting and pretty much hasn't stopped. This could result in crabbiness so everyone should consider themselves warned.

2. My new laptop has shipped and is due to arrive on (pause to change calendar from March to April, ow my back hurts more from stretching to do that) Wednesday. Very exciting. But I can't remember my schedule so I will have to see if I will actually be here when Fed Ex shows up. Maybe I can leave a note to leave it at the neighbors. Hmmm... good thought. God forbid I have to wait another day to get it.

3. Here is a job I will not be applying for - an agency is expanding. To apply for their jobs, you need to pay $400 to take their five day course. Not a chance. How do you say 'scam'?

4. The cat is taking his morning nap as he waits for me to go back down and feed him. (I ran out of news items so I had to stick in something...)

Yesterday I survived my busy day and almost got everything done that I needed to. I did get an awesome new pedicure with little red sparkly flowers on my toes - why be boring? We went out with my family and friends last night for a yummy meal. Organic pizza. Quite good. Today I only have a few things - meeting friends for coffee, library, laundry, walk or gym, and work from home. My big goal for the weekend is to get all my notes together for my new doctor this week. Its a lot of work to keep doctors informed of everything. But very important to do so. That way you might actually receive the medical care you need. This is one valuable lesson I have learned from the past two years of medical issues.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The other side of the coin

So last night I did sleep reasonably but am very tired this morning. I think I was just up too late last night. But then my back hurts this morning. Which would you prefer? A good night's sleep and a sore back or a crappy night's sleep and a pain free back? I seem to get one or the other and sometimes a crappy night's sleep with a sore back. But I never seem to have a good night's sleep with a pain free back. Is there no justice in this world?

In the meantime, I am in the midst of eating many meals in restaurants. Yesterday I went out to lunch with a friend. Today I am going out to lunch with a former co-worker. Tonight we are going out to dinner with my family. And tomorrow morning I am meeting friends for coffee. I miss my own cooking. Last night I had left over lentil soup after working late. (Random musing: does restaurant food cause a sore back? Probably not. Sigh.) Of course, in my complete lack of foresight, I have planned to meet two different friends for dinner on consecutive nights - at the same restaurant. Perhaps one of these will need to be relocated. But I have a week or so to plan this.

I will make up for all this eating out over the next few days by cooking a lot over the weekend. I am not sure yet what I will make but I will cook a lot. Today I am just a tiny bit overscheduled but not too badly. I have to work on this scheduling business. My social life interferes with my social life. Here's my day: work from home, grocery store, drop off catalogs at local library, friend for lunch at 1145, walk at 130, drop off more catalogs at another library, nail appointment 4pm, dinner with family at 6. I think that's it. I have some calls to make as well. And some volunteer work. Okay, maybe a little more than a tiny bit overscheduled... Oh, and I have to get my info together for next week's doctor appointment. And send a card to my nephew who broke is collarbone. Well maybe a lot more than tiny bit...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The benefits of sleep

For a second night in a row, I actually feel like I got a decent night's sleep. This is a vast improvement but this doesn't mean I feel great. I have a stiff shoulder/neck this morning. On the other hand, I was not woken up by the smoke detector again. Three times recently when Walter was showering the steam from the shower set off the smoke detector - not conducive to me sleeping. And it scares the cat.

I am also trying to use the benefits of waking up in the middle of the night. I have found one benefit. I have to take my thyroid medicine on an empty stomach and then wait an hour before eating. Then after I eat, I can take the anti-inflammatory for my back. By waiting an hour, sometimes I am sitting around hungry. But if I am awake at 4 am, I can take my thyroid medicine then, and go back to sleep. Then when I wake up I can eat breakfast whenever I want. (Which is right now because I am starving.) So there is a silver lining in the back pain/waking up at night business.

Yesterday I set up the 'new to me' hummingbird feeder. Now I am waiting for the hummingbirds to show up. I have been checking the migration maps at www.hummingbirds.net (go to Science - Migration Maps). They have been seen in southeastern MA on April 5th which means they should be along soon.

What else did I do yesterday? The other exciting thing I did yesterday was to make hummus from scratch. It was easy and yummy and I will be doing it again. I also went to work, worked from home, and went for a walk in the 43 degree, cloudy, damp, raw weather. (It felt like November, not April.) Today is supposed to be 60 and sunny. I am meeting a friend for lunch and a walk before I go to work. Maybe I will do a little gardening (a/k/a murdering little maple trees that are growing with my flowers) as well. I need to enjoy the nice weather today because then it will be cold and yucky again and next week I have to spend two quality mornings at doctor appointments. (What fun! NOT!) This reminds me, I am breaking in a new doctor next week - the back pain doctor - so I need to get all my notes ready for him. Bringing a new doctor up to speed can be very time consuming.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My life is not exciting

Actually do I want my life to be exciting? Not necessarily, normal might be nice. But then can you define normal? Do you know a single person who is not unique in some way? So what makes a normal person if we are all unique? And the differences between us are what makes the world go round. The tolerance of other's unique features are what allow us to enjoy each other's company, learn from each other, and grow and learn. And all those intolerant people out there - the hate mongers who do things like advocate against others simply because they are different or believe in things they don't - are therefore by definition, stupid.

Anyway, so am I normal? Probably not. Actually I hope not but a normal life wouldn't be bad. What defines a normal life then? How about going to the doctor once or twice a year. Or not have continual health problems. Or not living in pain. Or being gainfully employed.

Speaking of gainful employment, daily I go peruse the job openings in hopes of finding ones that fit my background so I can send in my resume. It is kind of scary the jobs that are advertised. 'BUILD AN INCOME PIPELINE INSTEAD OF STANDING IN THE UNEMPLOYMENT LINE' or 'MODELS & Juggler or Performer for POPULAR PHOTO magazine SUNDAY Apr 19' or 'Ladies, Don’t Need Much Sleep? 28-Day Sleep Research Study Age 18-35' are three examples from today alone. I believe the first one is what is known as a scam and the other two are pretty flaky and kind of scary (especially the third one). Anyway, I will skip these. But there are others out there.

Currently I am waiting to hear back on two jobs I interviewed for. Unfortunately due to the current lovely state of the economy, there are hundreds of people applying for every opening. I think the trick is to get your resume in immediately - within hours of posting so you are at least on the top of the pile. Or at least that's my theory.

Meanwhile, I am working 10-15 hours a week and doing another few hours from home. Not quite enough but I think the cat likes it that I am home much of the time so he gets treats and a lap to sit in regularly (but his lap sitting skills are detrimental to my typing skills).

Today's big exciting news is that I slept most (but not all) of last night and woke up feeling relatively rested and not in a lot of pain, just moderate pain. What did or didn't I do yesterday that would allow this to happen? I have no idea. I went for a walk, did a little gardening, ran some errands (and carried a slightly heavy bag 1 block), went to work for a while and made dinner. This isn't really different than any other day so I can't figure it out. But I am sure that the back issues will resurface later today. But perhaps my brain will work a little better than normal since I feel more rested.

Otherwise today (to continue my life in a rut), I will go for a walk, run some errands, do some work from home and go to work. I will also set up my new hummingbird feeder which is actually just new to me but that is fine (meaning it was free and will do the job). This is really a new tool designed to annoy the cat. He can watch them but not catch them. I am also going to try to make hummus this morning. I believe it shall be black olive and garlic... I have never made hummus. Well, I made hummus once that really didn't work out (don't ask me why) but now I have some tahini so I will give it a shot. Then lunch will be a hummus and lettuce sandwich if it does work.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Its nice when they agree with you


This weekend in the Boston Globe's magazine section was an article on chemo brain and how it is caused by chemo. And the fact that some oncologists don't believe it exists. Well this woman wrote a book which now I want to read. However I didn't need a book to tell me that chemo brain exists. I know it does. I am living proof - with every post it note that reminds me of something I need to do. But on some level it is nice to find out in print that other people agree with what you think - I am not alone with this one.

Then I received further gratification when my latest copy of Consumer Reports arrived in the mail. There were several articles worthy of my attention:
- Costco vs. Walmart. Costco wins. I hate Walmart. I will not shop there. I think they have dirty stores, horrible policies, and underpaid employees. I can go on if necessary.
- Comparing grocery stores. Wegmans is number one but since the nearest one is a few hundred miles away (but one is being built about 10 miles from here) I'll stick with the Trader Joe's that's a block away and came in second. I was happy to see that Whole Foods (a/k/a Whole Wallet or the Organic Walmart) came in 8th and had the poorest rating for its prices.
- What to do for back pain. Apparently my treatment with anti inflammatories and muscle relaxants is the way to go. Most people are successfully treated by physical therapy or chiropractic care but of course I am not. And surgery is not recommended for the types of problems I am having. I do find it interesting that they call the disk degeneration that I have 'arthritis of the spine'.
- How to get good health insurance. They recommend running for congress so you can get on the federal health insurance plan but that is the one we already have because my husband works for the DOD.

They also rate different reusable grocery bags and toilet paper... Anyway, its nice when people agree with how you think. A little positive reinforcement that I am not losing my mind.

Yesterday I worked from home and went for a walk before work. Most importantly my garden is finally starting to bloom. Today I am meeting a friend and getting a humming bird feeder which I will put out to annoy the cat further through the summer. He loves watching a bird feeder and I think a humming bird feeder would really bother him. (The little joys we get in annoying our pets sometimes...)

Monday, April 6, 2009

A fun weekend

I am back from a fun weekend up in the mountains. Except what is worse than a long drive? A long drive with a sore back and squeaking windshield wipers! I will get new wiper blades soon! Anyway we had a great time. We ate all kinds of bad food (and then I made the mistake of weighing myself before I went to bed last night - never weigh yourself after dinner and after eating crap for a day or two). We also did our best to help the economy recover and went shopping at the outlets. I got so very good deals which means I got some new clothes but didn't spend a lot of money.

I was driving up north thinking that it has been a very long time, 2 years, prediagnosis, since I last drove a long way to get away without my husband (or someone else to drive me) so I guess its another step in the right direction. Unfortunately my back has decided that long car rides are not a good idea. I did stop and walk around a little but it didn't help too much.

My husband and the cat missed me. How can I tell? They both wanted food and attention. I think my husband just likes food better when I make it. The cat just thinks that he needs food more often than my husband thinks he does.

On Friday before I left, I got a packet of information from the pain clinic (where I have an appointment next Tuesday) with a questionnaire I need to fill out before I go. Most of the questions make sense - where does it hurt (back, hips, neck, etc), what are you doing when it hurts (anything at all - sitting, standing, walking, lying down), describe your pain, other medical issues, etc. But here's a couple that I don't get: 'what do you expect from your treatment at the pain clinic?' How about relief from the pain. And 'if your pain cannot be relieved, what do you plan to do?' Well, they are supposed to fix the pain. That is why I am going.

Today I have to do some work before going to work, and some volunteer work. And go for a walk. It looks like a nice day out there but looks are deceptive as it is only 36 degrees. But what is very exciting is that it is clearly almost spring. I now have several blooming crocuses, dwarf iris, and grape hyacinth. I also have some other buds that I can't tell what they are yet. Very exciting. Spring is here. Well, sort of.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The stupid little things


Today did not have an auspicious start. I was trying to walk from the living room to the dining room through the small hall (that usually is where all the dust bunnies live) where I am currently storing my big inflatable exercise ball I use for my back exercises. The damn thing got tangled up in my feet so I ended up falling. (I am fine.) I scraped my knee. And jolted my back. And scared the cat (and my husband) who both came running.

As I was sitting on the floor doing the little mental check in you do after a fall, I started thinking (never think early in the day) and realized that I was okay but because of my back and everything else, I was more concerned than before. This is just such a stupid little thing that isn't the same anymore. Everything is potentially such a big deal. Grr, grr, grr.

But now I need to remember - never tell your doctor or nurse that you fell because then they label you a 'fall risk' while you are at the hospital and give you a special bracelet to read and don't let you do anything like stand up or go to the bathroom with out someone with you in case you fall again. So here I am advocating lying to your doctor. Basically, if you are a klutz (like me), keep quiet.

But seriously, I am fine. I took advil. I have more important things to do today. I am going away for the weekend with a good friend. She has a cabin in the mountains. There will be no one else there but us (and her five year old). Fat grams, calories, and alcohol content do not count on weekends like this. There were supposed to be more of us but everyone else couldn't make it so it will be just the two of us. I can't wait. My husband and cat will suffer at home without me and not eat nearly as well as when I am here.

But first, I am either going for a walk with a friend or going to the gym (depends when the rain starts). I should do a little work as well as pack for my trip. Or I could just procrastinate and rush around like a crazed maniac later...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Just another day


Yesterday was not an exciting day. I did go for my second job interview but I interviewed with the big boss who is a wheeler-dealer. He has a poker face and I have no idea how it went. However he said that if I don't hear in ten days to give his assistant a call - like next Thursday. So I will wait and see. (Working on that being patient thing instead of being a patient.) I do have other jobs cooking that have some interest as well. Actually the most exciting thing that happened yesterday is that I have more crocuses about to bloom.

What else did I do? I went for a walk early. I tried to take some pictures but my camera battery was dead and of course I only got a few. Then I went to work and then a volunteer meeting. How exciting. And my back hurt. Actually by the time I got home, I was pretty uncomfortable. Grr, grr, grr.

Today I have another (un)exciting day. I am going to go for a walk (or maybe the gym if it doesn't stop drizzling) and then do some work from home, a little job hunting and then go to work. I am going away this weekend so perhaps it is a good time to think about packing as well.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The battle lines are drawn

No, this is a digression from the cancer/health battle. This is the garden battle. On Sunday (just three days ago) I planted some pansies in a container and put it at the end of the front walk. There were two flowers for a tiny bit of color. They are gone. The flowers were decapitated! The battle lines are drawn! I will resort to plan B. I will spike the planter with hot pepper which is supposed to work. If I need to I will surround it with kitty litter or something. Most aggravating. The little furry creatures cannot be allowed to dine on my garden!!!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (so to speak), my back hurts - now there's a surprise! I want to be whiney and crabby about it and I will, because I feel like it. But I won't be whiney and crabby at my job interview this morning. I have a second interview for the job I went to last week. I would really like this job. 20 hours/week in a small company. So I will go put on my perky face and dress up (meaning hair gel, make up, and full check for cat fur on clothing before leaving the house) and cross my fingers that I get it.

Otherwise, I don't have much else to do today. First I need to rush out and go for a walk this morning before my interview. Then I will come home and do a little work before going to work, and then a volunteer meeting. Not much. I will squish it in. (But how am I going to fit another job into my chronically overscheduled life? Maybe I'll just have to give up wasting so much time on the internet.)

Yesterday was busy as well. I met a friend for coffee, went for a walk, and worked from home and went to my support group. I also ordered myself a new laptop - very exciting. I have been thinking about this for quite a while - months actually. It was on sale ending yesterday and I think I got a pretty good deal. And it comes with the latest version of MS Office so I don't need to buy it separately. But it will be here in a couple of weeks.

While I was out on my walk, I went by a little pond in some conservation land. I heard a weird noise and thought it was a flock of ducks but it didn't sound quite right. It was hundreds of frogs! All over the pond. I mentioned this to someone who told me that this is very interesting because the frogs haven't been around for a few years. If I go back with my camera, will they be there? Will I be able to take their picture? (Focus optional?) Probably not. But it worth a shot.