Tuesday, July 31, 2007
And that's Mom's original hair. We haven't seen Mom's original hair since January, when it went on hiatus, but if I can remember I'll try to get a picture of her new, chemo-resistant hair when we visit this weekend. (Ok, so we haven't tested the chemo-resistant part, but let's just take my word for it and not actually test the theory, ok?)
For those who don't know, my dear mother has spent the past 9 months or so showing cancer who's boss and kicking it's butt back to the stone age. If it had just asked I could have told it that it didn't stand a chance. Hey, the woman's been married to my dad for like 40 years, dealing with cancer ain't nothing! (Just kidding, Dad! Love you!) She's been cancer free since May, but goes back to the doc later this month for another PET (no, she's not replacing the cat, she's having the scan) and to have another discussion about radiation therapy to go ahead and kill the thyroid to avoid any possible return. That sounds simple enough, but my understanding is that the radiation could actually be tougher than the chemo at this point, which would suck now that's she's feeling so much better. Whatever she decides to do, I know she'll do it with style. She rocks that way. From the first day she was diagnosed she's said, "Hey, we'll do this God's way and make the best of it." And she did. Sometimes life sucks really really hard, but Mom used it as an excuse to tell everybody who asked that she was going to get through it by means of God's help and no other. So yeah, it was a tough road, but if she managed to get somebody's attention though her positive attitude and constant faith, then I guess we see that God does work through adversity from time to time. And I'll thank Him for every extra day I have with the Crazy Lady.
Anyway, all of that just to say that I know quite a few people who read this have been asking me for updates on her, and I'll let you know what's going on after her next PET.
to remind me why I should be good and take the meds.
Not in any order, if they were in order #3 would probably be first.
1. Left the eye on the stove lit for over 24 hours while Greg was out of town
2. Left the front door of the house wide open when leaving for work (this was when Jen and I lived at the duplex and she got home first that afternoon and called me freaked out because there had been an intruder at the house, because the door was wide open...)
3. Dated the last boy I dated in college
4. Got lost. Everywhere. Dad likes to say I can get lost in my own house, which is a little too close to true.
5. Worked the first 4 years at the bank
I'm sure there are several people reading this who could add to the list (Jen could write a novel on it) so please, feel free to make additions in the comments. I need the encouragement to actually get back on the meds! (I'm not moderating comments, so you shouldn't have to have an account to post.)
Well, this was that day where I had to put my foot down and tell my doc that we weren't messing with the dose anymore, I'm tired of feeling like crap. I'm tired of crashing into exhaustion; I'm tired of feeling nauseous all the time. At least I wasn't on the verge of having a stroke, like I was with the Adderall and Ritalin. The med I've been on for a year or so isn't a stimulant, so I haven't had the cardiac problems, which is the only reason I've suck with it so long! But frankly, I'm missing out on more when I feel so horrible than I do when I'm my normal space cadet. So 3 weeks ago I threw my hands up (again) and quit taking it. Completely. And suddenly I'm functioning, a little inefficiently, which is an improvement. I figured my doc would kill me. He hates it when I mess with my meds without telling him. He's convinced I'm going to kill myself in some freak accident if I'm not medicated during all waking hours. And ok, so maybe I did accidentally leave the eye on the stove turned on for 2 days while Greg was gone to Kansas, but I didn't actually burn the house down!
So we change to something brand new. Which, it turns out, is very similar to Adderall. Great. But he says it's a smaller dosage and better control and blah blah blah and if that doesn't work we'll try the Ritalin patch. I'd pretty much rather go back to work at the bank than take Ritalin again, but that's for another visit.
I dropped off the prescription today and of course it's new so they have order it, but I should have it tomorrow, so I can start it on Thursday. Yippee. In a way, I'm dreading it. I'm physically and mentally miserable when I'm on the meds, but I can't function like a normal person without them. This sucks. I'll stop griping now. Things could be worse, I know this, but after four years of fighting this, I'm tired. Really really tired.
Apparently yesterday when the pharmacist said, "We'll have it in tomorrow," what she MEANT to say was, "We'll have it in sometime after noon on Friday..." Gee thanks. All pumped up for NOTHING. No, I'm not bitter.
Monday, July 30, 2007
1. Nice cup of warm chocolate milk before bed
2. Counting backwards from 100, repeatedly
3. NOT taking that fabulous nap I wanted so desperately when I got home from work
4. Blankets on, blankets off, blankets on, blankets off
How many of these things worked? Zero. Not one. Which means tomorrow, for the third day in a row, will suck. I like to sleep. Really like it. And it irritates me when I can't. What's worse is that when I have this much trouble getting to sleep, I usually end up having really bizarre dreams and wake up off and on the rest of the night. Like last night, when I dreamed that I was being chased by the evil Transformers and was hiding out in a shoe store looking for weapons to use against them. Come to think of it, maybe that's why my brain won't go to sleep. It's afraid of more weird dreams. I'm not looking forward to work tomorrow.
from the American Cancer Society email In Touch newsletter dtd 07/2007:
Camp Rainbow from a Doctor's Perspective
Dr. Sam Cole graduated from the University of Mississippi Medical Center last year. He now often works 30 hour shifts, constantly studies to keep up with modern medicine, and still must find time to eat, sleep, and enjoy life outside the hospital. And yet, for the second year, he has made time to volunteer at the American Cancer Society's Camp Rainbow.
Although Sam does bandage the occasional scraped knee or elbow at camp, he says the best part of being there is that it gives him a break from being surrounded by the medical world. "During med school, I did a weeklong rotation in the cancer clinic. Some campers were actually in the clinic during my time there, so I've seen them as very sick patients in a hospital, and also as regular kids at summer camp. Camp isn't 'medical' for sure, and that's one of the great things about it," he says.
Camp is a learning experience for the counselors as much as the campers, he says. "The kids inspire me because I see the positive results of modern medicine and what someone in my field is doing. I'm not a pediatric oncologist, but I hope that I can provide the same kind of care to my patients in a different setting," said Cole.
Sam fondly speaks of the Camp Rainbow campers as if they are the counselors, not him. "Life as a teenager and 'tweenager' is hard enough. Seeing the kids at camp leading somewhat normal lives makes my daily issues seem pretty small. They really encourage me to do good, and take care of my patients the best that I can."
Sam hopes that his busy schedule will allow him to continue volunteering for the American Cancer Society. "Being at Camp Rainbow teaches you something about the human spirit. You see that doctors are not just treating generic patients in the hospital or in medical school -- they are real people with real lives who do things like go to summer camp," he says. "They teach me to remember that all of my patients are real people too."
To learn more about volunteering with Camp Rainbow, please contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Victor and Sharonda
Sharonda and Me
Friday, July 27, 2007
Credit for this idea goes to whoever parked the aforementioned SUV on State Street this afternoon, causing at least 5 other motorists, including myself, to have to come to a sudden stop, almost causing at least one collision, and creating general havoc. Thanks.
As a post script, I understand when big delivery trucks do it. They can't fit into a regular space anyway. That does not make it any less irritating when there are SIX delivery trucks parked on both sides of Pearl Street in the middle of the day...
I will say that, while I can think of at least two dozen other places I'd rather be than sitting in my current bat-cave office in the basement of the hospital, every day that I walk in here I'm grateful that I'm not walking into the bank. Periodically, when things get a little psychotic around here, my boss will get nervous and ask me if it's still better than being at the bank. I love it when he does that, because it always makes me laugh and reminds me that yes, it is LOADS better than being at the bank. My worst day here is better than being at the bank, so life is good. And I'm slowly getting to the point where I don't stick my tongue out at the TV every time I see a commercial for the bank.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
You see, Greg and I were driving from Port Gibson to Vicksburg (from fixing something blah blah at the hospital in Port Gibson to eat at Rowdy's in Vicksburg, and we can thank Marshall Ramsey for putting THAT idea in my head!). Along Hwy 61 are many landmarks and geographical wonders. One is Yokena. As we passed the sign for Yokena I started my usual game of trying to pronounce something utterly mysterious found on a road sign. Greg suggested it was pronounced like it sounds. I know better, this is Mississippi. Kosiusko, for example. Anyway, I knew I'd heard it pronounced before and was pretty sure it would have been by one of my parents, but as I said earlier, I figured it was a dumb thing to call them about.
Next, we passed LeTourneau. I commented that I'd known people who worked there all my life, but never really knew exactly where it was. Which led Greg to ask exactly what LeTourneau was. Umm. Well... It's some type of plant. I don't know! That was it, I called Mom.
I won't recite the conversation, although calling mom and asking her how to pronounce any small community is usually quite funny, but I will say that it's Yah-k-nee. Or, as Greg put it, just swap all the vowels around. And LeTourneau is a community, because the company doesn't make anything anymore, but back in the day the plant made drilling rigs, and earth moving equipment, and anything else made from steel that was welded. I should have been a welder. I told Greg that. I think he's still laughing at the idea.
Monday, July 23, 2007
These probably are the top 5, but not in any particular order. If they were in order, the 5th one would be #2...
1. The way they wrapped up the Snape storyline. It was quite wonderfully done, even the bitter irony in the timing, and the fact that the death was pointless in the end. Also like the last nod to Snape at the very very end, even though I wasn't comfortable with the last chapter in general.
2. Kreatcher. Hysterical. Every single part with the little grungy house elf was very well done, and if you pay attention it teaches all kinds of lessons about how we treat people, even when we consider ourselves the "good guys." And it seems Harry learned this lesson, illustrated at the end when he's dealing with the Malfoys and even in his final showdown with V.
3. All the salutes to previous books. I like the fact that she took a little (not a lot!) of time to remind us of days gone by, like the Cederick Diggory pin, Norbert's mention, Sirius' motorcycle, even the characters who haven't played a major role recently - like Colin - popping back around and the visit to the Chamber of Secrets. It was kinda like being reminded of all the fun along the way, as we walk to the end. Something Stephen King tried at the very very very end of the Dark Tower, but didn't really accomplish.
4. The fact that I can make fun of it as "The Fellowship of the Locket" and talk about Harry and friends traveling to Mordor. Really, it was just too darn familiar not to joke about it.
5. The way she wrote the last scenes with Dobby. He wasn't the most major of characters, but he definately deserved the respect he got in this book. He played a small, but important role, and it showed a depth of emotion not always expressed very well in the series.
6. Neville got his spotlight. I liked it. He deserved to be a hero.
7. Mrs. Weasley vs Beatrix and Neville's grandma vs the entire Death Eater organization. You GO girls!
Ok, so that's seven. But I graduated from the Honors College at USM, and, as I recall, #11 on the top 10 reasons I joined the Honors College was to learn to count. I got an English degree, so clearly I failed #11.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
And as a final side note - V just didn't seem as scary at the end as he had in earlier books, and even earlier in this book...
Now, how was it? Well, I'll try not to give out too many spoilers, just in case somebody out there is in a cave with really good internet access. Melanie asked me if I loved it. I told her I thought "love" was a strong word. It was satisfying. It was well finished. It broke my heart at times, but didn't make me laugh as much as any of the other six. But I suppose it wasn't supposed to. I cried at the first (important) death [the one where the motorcycle side car was dislodged and the passenger died] in the first chapter. It helped to harden me to the rest of it, though. I was numb by the time the last 3 good guys were reported dead. It certainly started with a blast, and ended [the main story anyway] with one.
The main reason I fell short of "loving" it was the fact that I have a hard time loving any 759 page book. Inevitably, it's going to drag in some places. In this installment, it was the nomads. Seriously, I kept waiting for somebody to call Harry "Frodo" by mistake and expected them to apparate into Mordor. But, in it's defense, that part did end abruptly and they tried to keep the action going throughout.
One of my interruptions today came at a crucial point, right as Harry and the gang were in the tunnel underneath the Shrieking Shack listening to *&*&*&* tell so and so about the wand and that he was about to blah blah blah. That was a very important scene, and right before the action happened there was a knock on my door and it was about 4 hours before I could sneak a peak at the next few pages, and a couple of hours after that before I could settle back in to get the full story afterwards. Talk about suspense, I've been waiting 7 books for that explanation! But as I said, the suspense was good for me, made the book that much more enjoyable.
The biggest accomplishment, I think, was the filling out of so many characters, although it was a bit much to take in all in one book. I had already suspected where they were going with Snape, although that memory was one of my favorite parts, and wasn't really shocked at the secrets revealed about Dumbledore. The best character background was Kreatcher. That one made me think, then made me laugh afterwards. Well done. Some of the primary Death Eaters surprised me as well, although I would like to know more about what happened with Draco immediately following the last battle, since he was used as a bit of a tie in at the end.
Finally, the last chapter. I didn't like it. Yes, it's a nice bow on the box, but it was way to fluffy for such a serious book. It was like jumping back to book one or two and felt out of place. If it had been given in a different view it might have sat better, but I was too numb for that by the time I got there. It didn't fit.
Now for the one thing I don't get - the crying baby-thing a the railway station near the end. What was that all about ? Had a few thoughts on it but none of them really tied in. Me and my English degree are baffled. I'm sure it's symbolic of something, but the brain is too fuzzy to figure it out! Perhaps tomorrow it will make more sense, after I've slept on it. And maybe I can post 5 Things I really really liked in the book. I could do it now, but I'm sure it wouldn't make very much sense!
Friday, July 20, 2007
5 Things I Love About Greg
(not particularly TOP 5, because you don't want to hear those!)
1) Technology. Our home was blasted in the current century overnight. I now have high speed internet, Tivo, streaming video, two big screen tv's, a new laptop with offsite access to our home media server... Our house may burn to the ground any day now, but we disconnected the cable because frankly, we have PLENTY of entertainment!
2) He does laundry. Lots of it. Usually BEFORE I'm ready to build a cave in the middle of the laundry pile and burrow into it.
3) He loves my singing. Well, not really. I just sent him an email where I TYPED the words to Happy Birthday and he emailed me back saying, "Ow! Ow! My ears!" But still, I pretend.
4) He takes me to see movies like Transformers and Harry Potter, then introduces me to Underpants Gnomes, all in the same week. (For the record - I don't like South Park. Really. I don't. But this Gnome phenomenon is incredibly intriguing. Who knew?)
5) Playing Good Pup/Bad Pup (he's a GOOD pup!) with Casper.
I'm sure he is sick of hearing that, because he would just as soon ignore his birthday as celebrate it, but I happen to be a HUGE fan of the birthday. It's the one holiday every year that belongs to you alone. Well, you and your mom. I always like to get my mom a little something for my birthday, since really we're celebrating the fact that she did all the work, and because of that, I turned out perfect. But that aside, it's not like the other big holidays that you share with everybody else with national or worldwide celebration. Nope. This day is all about Gregrey Scott Hall (and of course Terri, for doing all the work!).
We started celebrating last night with the first gift, he took off work today and I'll be leaving early so we can go out for birthday dinner and he'll get his gift from me tonight, then tomorrow is the grand finale with lasagna dinner celebration at his parent's house (yum yum!). So for a man who isn't big into birthdays, we're having a three day celebration! I love it.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Anyway, once we got there Greg LOVED it. Very relaxing. Very comfortable. The house was perfection. We literally sat in the floor and giggled when we first got there because we never imagined such an awesome place. And we had a practically deserted beach the first week of October! We ate huge meals once a day at local restaurants, with no crowds and no wait. Bahama Bob's is the absolute best place on the beach for seafood. Cosmos had the best steak. We were supposed to leave the next Saturday but couldn't. We decided to leave early Sunday morning. Yeah. We left at like 4pm on Sunday, reluctantly. We've been back to Gulf Shores once since, spent the night in Orange Beach and ate at Bob's, then came home. Now we're going back for real. For NINE DAYS and I can't wait. 65 days. Here are some of our favorite views from last time:
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Just as sure as the weekday clock hits 4:22, the flood will start. Why? Because at 4:30 I hike half a mile to my car. Across State Street, which is kinda like a slip and slide these days.
I know that we are technically still in a drought. I hear about it on the local news every night. Still about 10 inches behind for the year. But seriously. One day without a monsoon. One day. Ok, so two days. Perhaps two days would give my yard a little time to dry enough to be cut. I don't even own a lawn mower anymore. The old one died and since we'd started supporting a kid in the neighborhood's social life (while teaching him the value of manual labor!) I didn't bother buying another one. Now the poor neighbor kid can't get through our muddy yard enough to cut. Heck, he hasn't been able to cut his own yard!
The real problem isn't the grass. It's the fact that I've lost my dog in the jungle of my back yard. Thinking about posting reward posters around the back of the house. When he was a little pup it didn't take much to lose him back there, ankle high grass was taller than he was. He's not such a little pup now. Well, not as big as he likes to think he is, but a good 25 pounds! Yet the grass has overtaken him. He has to hop through the yard. It's too thick to walk. And boy does he love to wallow in my flower bed, which normally produces a dusty dog. Nope. Now it produces one caked in mud.
I'm thinking of building an ark. I wonder if our new city ordinances would allow it. Probably not.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Yes, that makes me crazy, but with 3 weddings within a year (mine, Jen's, and now Sharonda's) I've had the opportunity to watch three ordinary women turn into giggling princesses while trying on gowns. And it's fun. I've never been very girlie, and when I went to try on dresses I was terrified. Thanks to the fantastic group of goofballs that went with me, I had a great time and found THE dress. Granted, they made me put on every ugly gown they could find just for fun in the meantime! With Jen it was the same thing, we were in a hurry by the time we got to the last store, and she was just going to try on a couple of gowns and come back later, but when she put on THE dress, the search was over. It was a transformation. Yesterday I got to go with Sharonda on her first trip to find a gown and we had a blast. We new the minute she put on THE gown that she was going home with it. Something about the satin and tulle and the veil and... I told another friend today that we don't choose our wedding gown, our gown chooses us. You walk out in THE dress and light up, giggle, and shine, with no control over it. Sharonda did that yesterday. And she was so beautiful! I can't wait to see her lucky groom's face when she steps into the church December 1!
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
1. my wedding pictures
2. about 4 other cd's of random pictures, including some of great grandparents
3. my camera
4. my favorite bra
5. a tivo remote (ok, this has been lost for almost a year, but still...)
6. my car (in the UMC parking lot, not hard to do)
7. my dog (in the grass in the backyard)
8. my keys (which were locked in my car)
9. half a dozen papers at work
10. my mind
If today wasn't Friday, I might not make it. My goal for tomorrow is to act like a carrot and stay underground! If I don't look for anything, I can't lose anythinng!
Thursday, July 12, 2007
As I grew older an matured (think college) I had this grand urge to own a bookstore, so of course I decided to call it Basil's Llama Farm and Book Emporium, and began periodically answering the phone with that instead. Despite the fact that I own enough books to stock a store, that dream faded with my idiotic youth, and I am now a boring middle aged office drone who no longer does silly things like that. When I see my mom's number on the caller ID at work, I now answer the phone, "Waffle House, may I take your order," and she predictably orders a waffle and asks if I'll deliver to her office, 2 hours away. Granted, there is a rather large service charge to deliver via medical helicopter, since we both work in hospitals!
Why blog? Because I hadn't thought about Basil in a really long time until the other day, and I don't want to lose him. I come from a long line of dorks and goobers, and I want to make sure I not only record that for future reference, but share it with others along the way...