Tuesday, November 30, 2004

nutritional wasteland

I had the worst eating day today. Well, not the entire day, just the middle part of it: any day that involves a Cinnabon with extra frosting for lunch, followed later by a half a peanut butter and banana sandwich, is not going down in the records as a successful day, at least nutrition-wise.

Of course every time I eat junk like that I think, "Why am I feeding my cancer?" I know that cancer cells thrive on sugar. I know it's bad for me. Since my diagnosis I've been pretty stringent about avoiding sugar. Except for those candies during my RAI, but they were required, and besides -- I think that one Cinnabon had as many grams of sugar in it as all the candies I ate over those 3 days!

I don't eat all that much sugar, so that when I do indulge, I want it to be worthwhile. After dinner last night at Abuelo's, we both splurged and got the Mexican coffees -- DH got caramel, I got chocolate. They were basically huge cups of coffee piled with whipped cream and drizzled with syrups. Tasty, sure, but positively loaded with sugar. I doubt I'll order them again. I'd much rather eat flan if I'm going to splurge, dessert-wise.

DH's coffee, OTOH -- mmmmm. The man makes a seriously good cup of coffee. I'm drinking one now, and it's helping my throat which is feeling savaged from reading for about 40 minutes to DD and DS2 -- we polished off Little House in the Big Woods tonight, but then also read the 2 new Christmas books. DS2 loves "The Night Before Christmas" pop-up, it is just so cool. He was very patient waiting for me to finish DD's book, too.

The IL's took off this morning without any hassle whatsoever; DH came home to bring them to the airport. I would've driven but I'm not sure how my slightly radioactive state would register at the airport, and frankly I didn't want to get into any kind of hassles. It was just easier to let DH drive them. Even with the IL's leaving, or maybe because of it, I had a productive day -- dredged the counter (somehow, saying "cleaned off the counter" just doesn't convey the sense of it; it had gone so long that another archeological dig was in order), sent back the Coldwater Creek things that didn't fit and I changed my mind about giving as presents (see earlier references to "nothing that I have to wrap, pack, and ship myself"), went to Trader Joe's, returned those pants that didn't fit DS1 at the Gap, took DD to Build-a-Bear to spend her birthday gift certificate, and even let DS2 and DD play at the mall for a while before we had to go pick up DS2.

Dinner was clean-out-the-fridge; DH packed up the rest of the lasagna and put it in the freezer, and we ate and then disposed of all the rest of the leftovers, except my leftovers from Abuelo's last night, which, come to think of it, I should've eaten for lunch today... the last remaining vestige of Thanksgiving is the little bit of cranberry sauce that's left, which there was no reason to pitch. It will get eaten a bit here and there, and it should keep nicely for a while, anyway.

Now I have the sense of "back to normal": DS1 had to do his homework, and reading with the kids after supper. They all balked at having to eat (gasp!) vegetables with dinner -- I can't remember the last time that happened! Nonetheless, they survived. It's good to get back into the groove, if only for a few weeks before the Christmas holiday begins.

DH flirted briefly with the idea of us all going to his brother's house in Cleveland for Christmas. His motivation had something to do with a football bowl game that UConn will be playing on Dec 27 in Detroit; he thought it would be great to go to the game with his brother and Dad. Of course flying us all out there on Christmas would not be cheap, not to mention requiring substantial preparation for both travelers and hosts... and you can't really just show up with a family of 5 and say, "hey, put us up for a few days?" over Christmas when people usually have, you know, plans with their own (local) families... I think he would still like to go to the game, but the idea of us all going has been pretty well scotched at this point. (**whew**)

I admit to being slightly peeved at the idea that he wants to take off for a few days during the kids' (and his own) holiday, especially after he will have been working that 8AM-8PM shift for the two weeks prior, and barely seen anyone in the family as a result. I also realized today that I am for whatever reason extremely sensitive to criticism; when DH and I were talking about how unrealistic the trip really would be, I mentioned to him how tired I get, very suddenly it seems, and he went off on the mini-lecture: "You really need to get to bed at a reasonable hour. Especially for the next two weeks when I'm on that shift..." I was immediately furious with him for thinking that he needed to tell me that. What, I'm stupid and don't know it's going to be a stress, and I'll need my sleep especially? I really got quite angry, but rather than go into with him, I just said I needed to go and help DS1 with his homework, which was true anyway... avoided a blow-up.

Seriously... what he said was a tad patronizing, and not helpful, but my own response was disproportionate. Gotta watch that temper thing.

Monday, November 29, 2004

last dregs of respite

Or something like that... the ILs return home tomorrow, so it will be just me & the kids while DH is at work. I know I'll be fine, I just don't feel like dealing with it...

DH and I had a really nice dinner tonight at Abuelo's, grown-up food the kiddos would never touch. It was all yum, and we enjoyed having an hour or so, kid-free. I've no idea when the next time we'll be able to do that will be...

I'm just dreading the next few weeks. Wednesday I'm scheduled for 2 biopsies at the dermatologist, and Friday I go for my scan (again). Then, starting Monday, DH goes on 2 weeks of 8AM to 8PM shifts. That is going to suck because I will have to do all of the driving for the kids -- to and from school, including getting them out of bed in the mornings and breakfasts and packing lunch and all that hoo-ha that DH handles so capably, especially since my surgery.

So I have to get into a routine of actually going to bed at a decent hour (before 11PM) so I can get up with the kids and be functional. Yep, like that's gonna work.

I've decided I'm not going to send "stuff" to anyone that I have to wrap or pack or ship myself. If I can order it and have it sent directly, I will. Other than that, it's gift certificates, except for in-person gifts. I have some things to return but then after that, I'm going to avoid shopping except for the peewees and DH, and that I can do at a fairly leisurely pace, I hope.

I love the Christmas season, I really do. I just wish I wasn't feeling so about-to-be-squished by everything right now. I hope the scan goes well on Friday because if there are distant metastases I don't really know how I'll take that. I have to keep reminding myself that it does no good to freak out in advance.

Off to bed!

Sunday, November 28, 2004


I like this word, enough. It is very flexible.

When the kids are getting rowdy and are only seconds away from someone getting accidentally poked in the eye or otherwise inadvertently injured, one simple, "Enough!" can get them to chill for just long enough to lose their momentum -- perfect.

I like the meaning of enough, sense of it. Just the right amount. Not too little, not too much, just enough.

Today, there was enough... enough patience to go around even though the tired/grumpy me was around for a while. Enough cranberry eggnog tart to round out my leftover bbq lunch. Enough salad and crab cakes at Mimi's to make a really perfect pre-concert dinner.

Enough time to get to America West Arena for the Boston Pops Holiday concert; enough maneuvering room to back the van into the parking space.

Just enough self-control to not melt down completely during the concert, although I pushed the limit there during Haley Westenra's encore rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," which made me cry even before my dad died 7 years ago.

Enough presence of mind to soak up all the different emotions DD was experiencing at the concert, to store them away and remember forever.

There wasn't anything extragavant about today, even though the three of us girls did get all fancied up before we went out -- that was just part of the fun:

The concert is never very long and I'm sure there are many who would find the holiday-themed music stifling -- I don't. This year I enjoyed the unabashed use of the word Christmas, and the acknowledgement that what we're celebrating is the birth of Jesus Christ... a subtle shift from the more politically correct programs of Pops holiday concerts past? Maybe, maybe not. I just liked it.

DD looked so charming in her pretty dress, wrapped in my fluffy white wrap, that many, many people were compelled to speak to her, to tell her how wonderful she looked or just to chat. She is oblivious to the fact that not every little girl attracts so much attention simply by being. She was very snuggly during the first half of the concert, sitting on my lap and giving me frequent kisses. During the second half she was more occupied with eating popcorn and waiting for the sing-along, but she just lit right up when Santa put in his appearance. MIL commented on the way home how much she enjoyed watching DD's reactions to everything. It certainly did add an extra level of enjoyment to the proceedings. There's something altogether peaceful about just going out with the girls. It was really lovely.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

tired and grumpy

Had trouble sleeping last night. I don't know what the heck I was doing but my left arm went to sleep -- I think I was leaning on it while web-surfing or something? Anyway, it wouldn't wake up and it was really uncomfortable. That put me in mind of hypoparathyroidism, because my hands and feet had all fallen asleep on the massage table earlier in the day, which was just weird, and I couldn't remember that happening before.

Hypoparathyroidism is a condition where your parathyroid glands kick out, and fail to regulate the calcium levels in your blood. The main symptom is that your hands and feet, and sometimes your cheeks and face, feel numb and tingly. The parathyroids are sometimes damaged or shocked by thyroidectomy (the surgery I had), but mine were fine right afterwards... so then I started wondering, did the RAI knock the parathyroids for a loop? What if the cancer had invaded the parathyroids and now they are going out? And the brain started spinning out that scenario...

Treatment for hypoparathyroidism is basically supplementation with calcium (my surgeon: "If you feel a little tingling, chew a couple of Tums and it will subside,"), but of course we don't have anything like Tums in the house. Why? I have no idea, but probably because neither DH nor I ever have heartburn or indigestion because we eat low carb. (DH had a major problem with heartburn before we went LC, and will still have a problem if he over-indulges on higher carb stuff.) Anyway, I freaked myself out sufficiently that I couldn't sleep. I did take a cal/mag/zinc tablet before bed and after a while it did seem to help, and I finally drifted off.

I woke up several times overnight, though -- at one point, my right arm was dead asleep, another time it was my left, it was just so weird... and just now I'm realizing that I have to do something because both my feet are getting that weird numb/tingling sensation. I think I'll have to call the dr about it on Monday and see what they say. I did a web search today and there was a mention of RAI increasing the risk of hypoparathyroidism, but only as part of an anti-RAI posting, not anything I would consider reputable. I should stop freaking about it... I was probably just sleeping all twisted up, as I sometimes do.

I took DS2 up to McCormick RR Park for a birthday party today, and he had a good time. It was nice because it was short: a few games, cake and ice cream, opening presents, a train ride, a carousel ride, then time to go. That was about all I had energy for... it literally exhausted me, and it was only about an hour and half altogether, although I did have to drive up to Scottsdale (about 25-30 minutes), and then of course home again.

My friend who gave the party for her son commented that I looked good... eh. She and her husband both asked me, at separate times, how I was doing, and I always answer either, "I'm doing OK," or "I'm hanging in there," something non-committally positive. I have no desire to go into the details with these people. She made a comment on the phone the other day, "Well, at least they caught it early," and I had to disabuse her of that notion: no, they didn't; they opened up my neck and it was a freakin' mess in there -- cancer everywhere. Totally unexpected. Of course she was taken aback by that, but I really just didn't want to let that one go, and I guess I hadn't talked to her about it in any detail since the surgery. That is no surprise because most of the time when we talk, it's her talking and me being a sounding board. That's OK, it minimizes my stress.

So this afternoon DH took the 3 kids to the park to run around and ride bikes and what-not, and I did my web crawl and looked up RAI some more and staging some more and figured out my staging as much as I could without knowing if there are distant metastases or not, which, it turns out, does make a big difference even if it is just papillary cancer. I won't know until Friday and have to just try not to think about it in the meantime.

DS1 and I went to Mass and I was so grateful that it was not a long service, as I was exhausted before we even left. Then when we got home we all piled into the van and went to Elephant Bar for dinner, which just got on my last nerve. The kids were fine, really, but I am just tired, and grumpy as a result. Too many busy days and a bad night's sleep will do that, never mind having all the cancer stuff to deal with on top of it. I had my usual which didn't thrill me. I don't know whether it's the difference between Saturday night service vs the less busy times when we usually go out, or if it's just that my tastebuds are still altered from the RAI, but where I've really enjoyed it in the past, tonight it was just OK, nothing I'd go back for. The kids loved their sundaes, as usual, though.

It's funny because I intellectually know that there was nothing really wrong, I just didn't enjoy it because I was so drained. Isn't it horrid how we see everything through the prism of our own miseries? It does help to realize that's what's happening, but it's not so easy to snap out of it, regardless.

Friday, November 26, 2004

spa life

MIL & I spent several hours at Aji Spa being pampered and enjoying the peacefully beautiful surroundings. It was a great break from reality, and a wonderful way to destress after all the hectic stress we've been through: MIL retired on the 19th, and she has been working like a fiend to leave things in good order. I, of course, have been running around like a lunatic getting ready for the holiday and the ILs visit, plus dealing with the cancer and RAI and various doctor visits, plus school stuff and kids and all that! It was DH's idea to for us to do this as her retirement/birthday present. Yes, I have the most awesome husband on the face of the Earth!

MIL and I are in total agreement that we could get used to the spa life. Say, a facial plus spending the afternoon in the alternate reality, once a month? Mmmm-hmmmm. Hey, I'd settle for once or twice a year.

Perhaps I talked too much today, or perhaps the angle of my head on the massage table was less than optimal, or maybe it's just more die-off of RAI-affected tissues, but my thyroid "bed" is feeling very odd again this evening. I feel like I did in the days immediately post-op, like there's still something in my throat. This feeling does come and go, but this is the first time I've felt it in a few days. Yesterday I felt completely normal, the entire day. Today was fine until about 4:30 or 5... but I did do a lot of talking today, and I had the facial... so, what's causing it? I don't know. I took a couple of ibuprofen and that took the edge off, but it's still really annoying. Not a pain, exactly, just a swollen feeling, not something you can see from the outside, but I feel it on the inside.

Speaking of not being able to see it on the outside, here's how the scar is looking these days:

Yes, I look goofy (again -- is there any other word for it?) but any shot I took of just my neck looked completely bizarre, so I went for the weird self-portrait effect. As a bonus, you can see one of my new pajama tops.(hee!) Yes, I am blogging in pajamas.

Ahem. Can you even see the scar? The photos tend to flatten out what little residual swelling there is underneath the incision -- if you look at the full-size photo, you can see it. But even at just 6 weeks out from surgery, it is barely noticeable. Way cool, huh?

Now if I could just do something about my hair! Eh. I'll get to it eventually.

DH just polished off the apple pie. I think I'll have to make another one... somehow it's just not right that there isn't anymore, already! You can never have too much pie, no matter what those silly "be healthy" interstitials on Nickelodeon say. OK, sure, an entire pecan pie may have as much fat in it as 12 cheeseburgers or 18 chocolate shakes, but who sits down to eat an entire pecan pie? I know the Nick people are being facetious, and the fake PSAs are pretty funny, but I'm still defensive about pie. In my family, pie was pretty much a once-a-year event limited to Thanksgiving weekend, which if you were lucky enough started on Wednesday evening. My mom always made anywhere from 9 to an even dozen pies, depending on who was going to be around, because we all ate pie for breakfast as well as dessert and snacks and before bed. Hey, pie only came around once a year, and we really enjoyed it! Still do.

Of course if I ran across pie on a more frequent basis I would be a lot more restrained. But given the fact that my pies are sugar-free and provide a good balance of protein, fats, and unadulterated fruits (apples, cranberries) and/or vegetables (pumpkin) and nuts (pecan crusts), I think they make a lovely breakfast... or dessert or snack or supper. Have I mastered the art of rationalization yet? Why am I so defensive about pie? It's just pie, right?

I'm thinking it has to be the nostalgia factor. I actually submitted a MILC column to the LCL people, on just that topic, with my lower-carb fruitcake recipe attached. Still 20g carbs per slice, but seriously? You do not even want to know how many carbs are in a slice of the regular version... ouch! I hope it was not too late for the December issue. They can usually squeeze in another page without too much difficulty. More ad space! Wait, is that a good thing if they didn't know they were going to have it? Oops. Well, I'm almost positive I told them about the cancer thing so here's hoping they aren't all annoyed with me. I'm doing the best I can, really. It still amazes me how much time slips away.

Thursday, November 25, 2004


Mmmm yeah.

I had pie for breakfast and pie for supper. In between, we had the amazingly awesome turkey dinner.

I think I was on my feet constantly from 9:15 when I woke from being dead-asleep (I took a couple of ibuprofen last night as my back was really tweaking me by the time I got there, which was at the shockingly early hour of 11:30PM) until we sat down to dinner at around 2-ish. Oh, I guess that's not right since I did sit down briefly to eat my 3-pieces-of-pie-breakfast, but that's not the same as having a leisurely morning, leafing through the newspaper, all la-dee-dah.

Nope. It always surprises me how much time simple things take, like rinsing off some carrots, and peeling and quartering an onion, and rough chopping some celery to toss in the cavity of the bird. It seems like it should be about 5 minutes, tops, but somehow it stretches out into 15 minutes. And then the same strange time-elasticity effect occurs with putting together the stuffing. Or getting the cauliflower and squash out of the fridge and into their appointed casserole dishes. Heck, even putting together the little pickle tray took longer than I thought.

So dinner was targeted for 1, but we sat down to eat at 2, which wasn't too bad -- the turkey came out of the oven just before 1, but it needed to rest and then DH had to carve it -- when the turkey came out, the casseroles with all the fixings went into the oven. Then I started on the gravy, which is a time warp unto itself, but which came out beautiful in spite of looking like a gloopy mess only moments before it hit the table. Why, yes, I do seive my gravy, why do you ask? And now I'm always put in mind of the scenes from the first Bridget Jones movie where the gravy is an absolute disaster but Bridget and Darcy are ragging on their respective moms,"Oh, you're going to have seive that gravy," -- "Nonsense, it just needs stirring!"

Ahem. I seive it because then you get the maximum flavor out of the onions, celery, and carrots that have been roasting in the pan and simmering in the gravy up until that last moment where they give their all up to it as they get smooshed in the seive. My gravy is awesome -- and low-carb, because I know that any stray lumps of xanthan gum will be caught by the seive, too. Hee!

So today was another blur of cooking and eating, mostly. Also many phone calls to family. This evening I did read two new books to DD and DS2, Bear Stays Up for Christmas, which was charming, and a fantastic pop-up version of The Night Before Christmas, both of which I bought through the DS2's pre-school Scholastic book order process. I'm buying waaaayyy too many books these days. I'll have to back off, probably for the rest of the year! Well, after Christmas, anyway. That pop-up book was a steal: I think I paid $10 for it, where I know I've seen it for twice that, at least, at Border's, and it is simply breath-taking.

Pop-up books are like origami-on-demand. I've seen so many really clever and creative books that I never would've given a thought to, before DS2's love of them motivated me to find new ones for him to enjoy. This Sabuda book is beyond clever, though: it is art you can play with.

Speaking of art, I'm off now to shop my favorite online bookstore (the cheap flat-rate shipping is a huge plus) to see if they have any Saxton Freymann books. Now that the dinner is over all those delicious leftovers are tucked away in the fridge, I'm in full-on Christmas planning mode. And just writing that reminds me, I can pick up our Christmas cards at Sam's tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

well, shoot

Drove all the way up to Phoenix this morning and met with my surgeon -- he said the magic words, "You never have to see me again," hooray! -- and then went for my scan. Except the tech stopped after only half-an-hour to tell me that I have to come back in a week or so, because there is still so much RAI left in my neck that it is giving off a glow like NYC on the Eastern Seaboard -- you can't really make out much of what's going on in there, it's just too bright. So I'm rescheduled for Friday next, 9AM. I asked about distant metastases, but it wasn't clear whether or not they really even looked for them.

So, while I was in the surgeon's waiting room, I copied out a recipe from the November issue of Gourmet magazine for Cranberry Eggnog tart, which looked beautiful and sounded delicious. I knew I had all the ingredients on hand so I was crazy and made it this afternoon, along with the pumpkin pie and the cranberry sauce for tomorrow. (Both the pumpkin pie and the cranberry tart were made with Dana Carpender's pecan praline crust -- it's very tasty, but I think I'll do some tweaking for next time.) The apple pie is finishing off in the oven right now. My first run making the pie crust with organic shortening -- it worked up beautiful. Then again, I had the idea to roll out the dough on my silpat (silicone baking mat) and that worked like a dream. Should give nice flaky crust, it needed so little "work".

We also dried the bread for the stuffing, too. That leaves just the green beans, assembling the stuffing, and cleaning the turkey as prep work, and the turkey I will do when I'm finished here... the g.b.s can wait until tomorrow, they're easy, and so for that matter is putting the stuffing together -- no big deal, especially with the food processor doing all the chopping.

The lasagna was a big success, at least with the grownups. The kids, as I knew, wouldn't go near it. They enjoyed their bread, though. Lasagna, bread, salad. Great meal. I whipped some cream and DD ate pumpkin custard (leftover filling; I only have 9-inch pie plates, and the recipe was for a 10-inch pie, so I put the extra into custard cups) and whipped cream for dessert. She enjoyed it so much the boys asked for same, and since there were 3 custard cups, it was not a problem... except they don't really like the custard, they just like the whipped cream! Silly boys.

The cranberry eggnog tart tasted as good as it looked (and it looked quite pretty), and it was actually nice and light, lighter than I expected. I'm not "saving" anything for any particular time -- it's all fair game as far as I'm concerned: you want to eat it, eat it. Hee! better the stuff get eaten than go to waste...

The kids watched HP3 today while I was cooking, so I got to watch/listen, too. I'm still looking forward to really watching it attentively one of these days.

I am too tired to think, but happy that all the food has been yummy so far.
Tomorrow, just a little more cooking and then basically no cooking until the food runs out, which won't be for several days. Hee!

I'm happy right now just thinking: pie for breakfast! pie for breakfast! pie for breakfast!

I'm going to have a slice of each, and a cup of coffee. Sounds divine, hmmm?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


11:02PM, and the kitchen is CLOSED. Finally.

I ran around like an idiot all morning doing errands, didn't get home until past 1PM, then can't even imagine what happened to the time between then and pick-up for DS1... finally started making lasagna-fixings in the early evening. Can't remember the last time I made a good meat sauce, and it just smelled soooo good. I had quite a few tastes. But you have to, you know? If the sauce is not good, the lasagna will not be good, either! Hee!

The In-laws' flight was delayed so that kind of screwed up things for DH as well. He ended up getting home with them around 4PM and then went back to the office until 6:30, so I picked up the barbecue from Joe's and we all ate at about 7. I had made a double-batch of bread and made half into rolls for tonight, tomorrow night we'll have the other half with Italian seasonings in it with the lasagna and salad...DS1 was very psyched when I told him that was the plan. He loves my fresh bread, which is basically pizza dough. It is a snap to make in the KitchenAid. I am coming to love that mixer. I never would've predicted that, but just moving it out to a more accessible cupboard has changed my entire relationship with that appliance. I find myself using it once a week or more. Cool.

After the kids and the ILs were off to bed, I pre-processed the squash and the cauliflower, because in their raw state they were taking up too much space in the fridge, and I need to put the lasagna in there overnight. This is a MONSTER lasagna -- two boxes of noodles, quarts and quarts of meat sauce (2.5 lbs of ground beef), 2+lbs of Italian sausage, 2 containers ricotta, and copious amounts of parmesan and mozzarella and I hope it tastes as good as it smells!!! The Beast is outside cooling down for a while more before I try to wedge it into the refrigerator, hee!

So, I cooked the squash and the cauliflower and the turnip (which we decided we're not having Thursday, I just bought it because we often do have it... apparently I was on 'turnip auto-pilot'...). So the squash is cooked. The cauli is cooked and semi-pureed. I realized that it is essential to cook the cauli with a tablespoon or two of white vinegar. It helps it keep its nice white color, but it also changes the taste more than I realized. I always thought that tang I like in my pureed cauli came from the sour cream, and I'm sure some of it does, but some of it also comes from the white vinegar that goes into the steaming water. It's not much, but it does make a difference. The color is just lovely, too.
Last and for now definitely least, the turnip is cooked and packed up and in the freezer. That leaves:
- cranberry sauce
- bread and veggies for the stuffing
- green beans
- cleaning the turkey
- apple pie
- pumpkin pie
- lemon whatever it is I'm doing with those lemons
as work for tomorrow to prepare for Thursday, in addition to putting together the salad and baking the bread for tomorrow's dinner. MIL was feeling guilty about not helping out tonight, which is just silly. Their flight was delayed for so long, and that's so stressful -- even if there had been no delays, it's a long, long day flying to AZ from CT. Plus, it was wonderful that they spent so much time with the kids, which freed me completely to do what I needed to do.

I promised her I'd leave a list of things they could work on while I was gone, because I will be out from about 8:40 until about 3. Maybe I'll get in a little earlier, but I'm not counting on it. I'm taking DS2 up to school, and then heading up to Phoenix -- my appointment with my surgeon is at 10:15, and then my scan is scheduled for 11, but they'll do it basically whenever I get there.

Today went very well probably because I ate well, rested when I could, and paced myself, more or less. I had some pukey-feeling kind of moments, and my throat "bed" was a bit achey again today -- that just kind of comes and goes, I expect it goes with the territory. I'll review it with the docs tomorrow.

Speaking of reviewing with the docs -- I am so happy I remembered to pick up the u/s films from TCM today. I almost forgot, but as soon as I drove by Alma School Rd, I remembered, and was able to make a u-turn at the next curb cut and zip up there and get them, it only took like 5 minutes. I've put them in the car already, so there's no question about forgetting them at home! I don't want to take any chances with that, not that I think they'll shed any great light on anything, but who knows?

I'm wondering if I'm in the midst of a mini-flare, too. This morning when I woke up, my hands, left hip, and lower back (all the way down to my tail bone) were pegging in at about 5-6 on the 1-10 pain scale, which is, to put it bluntly, way worse than usual. OTOH, I did a boatload of running around yesterday, too, including a lot of lifting of DS2 and DD in and out of shopping carts. Lots of time on my feet, and I have been bad, bad, bad about staying in my pelvic tilt and keeping my weight balanced the way I should to help keep the sciatica at bay.

It has been so long since I exercised that I have no real musculature to help keep my skeletal system in proper alignment... I have to get back to that routine. Every night when I pop my hips back in, it's really a distressingly loud series of "pop-pop-pop". When I was exercising consistently, there would often be only the faintest little "pop", telling me that I was only a little bit "out"... now I'm really "out", practically all the time. Of course, 2 days before Thanksgiving is not a great time to try and get into a new routine. But hopefully shortly afterward. It's just a question of finding the best time in the day where I can do it consistently.

Today was a good day. I didn't have time to think about having cancer much at all today. I spent good time with the two little ones, but DS1 got short-shrift, but I think Nana and Papa helped make up that deficit for me.

Ahhh... DH just put on Vince Giraldi's "Charlie Brown Christmas". He's fiddling with the stereo to set the different modes on the speakers for movies, tv, and music, so he has been bouncing between Spider-Man (my favorite superhero until I came upon ElastiGirl in The Incredibles) and some wretched television programs. Now we're up to music, and I just adore this album.

I bought the new Harry Potter DVD today. I'm looking forward to seeing it about million times. I loved how richly textured it was, and was so resentful of the peewees when they kept distracting me at the movie theater. Didn't tell them that, of course, especially since I knew we'd purchase the DVD asap. Got it for a most excellent price at Target, too. And I'm not saving it for Christmas, because I am completely and totally spoiled: "Hey, I have cancer, and if I want to buy myself a DVD, I will, damn it!" Hee!

Monday, November 22, 2004

mmm banana bread

I don't know whether I actually felt better today or I just ignored the fact that I wasn't feeling great. Doesn't matter, as I got done what I needed to get done: shopping is pretty much complete for Thanksgiving. Just have to pick up a few things at Sam's Club tomorrow, and stop at Target to return those pants, and then I can get cooking.

One things that wasn't so much scheduled today as just happened was making banana bread. I encouraged (rather forcefully) DS1 to do some more of his Sacrament of Penance homework, and he put in over an hour at it -- and DS2 and DD were kicking around waiting to watch the DVD of "Olive the Other Reindeer" I indulgently bought for them at Fry's today. DS2 is not so good at patience, sometimes, being only 3, and so I said, "Hey, help me make banana bread." This was a hybrid of my mom's old high-carb recipe and my own MILC techniques, and it came out awesome:

Banana Bread
(12 servings)

2 large over-ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg
1/2 C butter melted
1/2 C Splenda pourable
1/2 C xylitol
1/2 C almond flour
1 C Designer Whey
2 T vital wheat gluten
2 T oat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Combine the wet ingredients and sweeteners.
Sift all the dry ingredients together, then mix into the wet ingredients.
Pour into well-greased loaf pan.
Bake in a 325 degree preheated oven about 40 minutes.

The texture of this bread was exactly like my mom's. Of course it had a lot more banana in it than I usually use. I should run the numbers.

Update: here's the nutrition information, best I can figure out, using 9.6 calories and 4 grams of Sugar Alcohols (no carbs) per teaspoon of xylitol, 24 teaspoons to the half-cup:
Per Serving: 161 calories, 11 g fat, 8 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 6 g protein, 5 g sugar alcohols

Anyway I was too exhausted to do much for dinner, just made burgers for the kids and omelettes for DH & me; then we had the banana bread for dessert. Lots and lots of banana bread, hee! Half the loaf is gone, but that's OK.

The fridge is stuffed with good things to eat for the rest of the week. I have to get my head on straight with what I'm cooking when, tomorrow. The in-laws come in mid-afternoon, and dinner will be take-out, but I don't want to be completely flattened when they get here.

I do hope I can get to bed at a decent hour tonight. Last night things didn't work out that way, as I stayed up until the laundry came out of the dryer so the kids would have clothes for school. I ended up sleeping until 8:30 so it wasn't as bad as all that, but I would like to help DH in the morning. Tonight I don't have any such constraints so I will aim for a much more reasonable bed time.

I always say that, don't I?

Sunday, November 21, 2004


So today was lots worse than yesterday.

I ended up falling asleep on the couch last night and finally woke up around 2AM with both hands dead asleep from how I was sleeping... managed to get teeth brushed and fall into bed about 2:30, as it took some effort just to move at that point.

Got up this morning around 10, and puttered... couldn't eat because of the meds (have to wait at least an hour) and then got distracted, so didn't end up eating until probably 1-ish, which is just so, so bad. I had the last of the chicken and veggies, tasted good, but I had no appetite.

[TMI warning] Then about an hour later, I went to use the toilet and everything apparently went right through me. It was very weird. I'd had a few gurgling noises but no cramping or anything else that would've indicated an episode like that. I'm sure it's a side effect of the RAI. Stuff is dying off inside me, after all. After taht, I've been feeling basically pukey. No actually puking, mind you, just that gross feeling. Ick. [/TMI warning]

DH has been working hard all day, mopped all downstairs, and took both DD and DS1 out for bike riding practice... he is feeling so bad they don't get out more often, but there is only so much one guy can do!

We ended up just getting pizza for them for supper, and I ate a slice. I had to eat something and one slice of pizza is not going to kill me. I figure it was better to eat that than go without anything again, which may be the reason I'm feeling so yucky.

We did bully the kids into looking presentable and took our Christmas card picture:

DD's hair is a little mussed, but we liked the smiles on all 3 of them. It's a trial getting a shot like this, because anytime you point a camera DS1's direction, he starts making goofy faces. It's very difficult to get a natural-looking expression of any sort! So rather than turn it into some day-long horror show, we're just going to go with this one, which is quite nice, after all. I love my digital camera.

Then DH and I put our heads together and scheduled out the week's activities and what we're going to do for dinner each day, so I could plan my shopping for tomorrow. I have to get a turkey! Hee. Way too much stuff to do, but that's just the way it is. And even though I had resolved to hem those pants I bought for DS1 yesterday, I had him put them back on again, and they really are too big around the rise area -- there's just too much excess fabric, they'll never look right. So I went online to 3 or 4 different places and finally ordered him a couple of pairs of pants from Land's End, and a pair of slipper for me. Hopefully they will fit, and that will be the end of this pants nonsense! It's getting on my nerves!

So it wasn't an entirely wasted day, after all. I could've easily spent the entire day in bed and perhaps I should have. I hope tomorrow goes better: it's shopping day, and if the shopping doesn't get done, the rest of the week will be screwed up.

DH will be picking up his folks at the airport on Tuesday, since I'm radioactive and can't go. Tuesday will be cooking day, whatever doesn't get done on Monday, which for all I know could be nothing at this point... we're planning lasagna for dinner on Wednesday, which is a bit of a production, but sooo worth it! I want to have it all put together so that when I get home from the scan I don't actually have to do anything except put it in the oven to heat it up. I wonder if I will have any appetite in the coming days? Dr. L warned me that my taste would be altered and it is, and the appetite thing I think varies from person to person but is not all that unheard of. I'm hoping by Thursday I actually feel like eating some of the nice things we'll have around.

I also researched possible publishers for my book and located a couple, and also want to give the American Cancer Society a call. They have a publishing arm but don't list anywhere on their website who to contact regarding submitting items for consideration. It may be that they only commission their pieces, which is fine. I'll call the 800 number tomorrow during business hours. I didn't feel like dealing with this through e-mail today.

So, it goes. I will get to bed at a decent hour and that will help. Tomorrow will be better.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

weee-oooo, weee-oooo

DS1 did this little finger puppet play at the breakfast table this morning, and for some reason it is sticking in my head. He was using both his hands to do various things:
"Four little monkeys jumping on the bed..." (four fingers bouncing up and down on the back of his other hand, which made the bed)
"One fell off and bumped his head..." (the index finger crashes off "the bed", curls up, DS1 says "ow ow I bumped my head")
"Mama called the doctor..." (now, the bed hand transforms into an ambulance, and DS1 makes a "weeee-ooooo, weeee-ooooo" siren sound, "drives" the ambulance up to the injured finger, puts it inside the ambulance, and drives off, again with the "weeee-oooo, weeee-oooo" siren.)
"No more monkeys jumping on the bed! Then...
Three little monkeys jumping on the bed..."

I don't know, for some reason, the whole thing just cracked me up, especially the little ambulance with the "weee-oooo, weee-oooo" sound. It was all so clever and cute. I should've video'd it, but who knows what I would've got then? And now I have a perfect memory of it. DD and DS2 were in stitches laughing, it was just so adorable.

Anyway, right now, I'm thinking that little "weeee-oooo, weee-oooo" ambulance should be driving up and carting me off, because I'm exhausted. It was a great day, but draining.

DH was gone from 8 to about 3 at his RCIA retreat. That wasn't so bad. I made the kids egg & cheese sandwiches for breakfast and got them to eat them by saying I would take them out for lunch if they ate them without hassling me. So they did, for the most part. Then I switched out the dishes, so we're starting the "Christmasing up" around here, I suppose. Then spent an hour with DS1 on his Penance homework, and about 40 minutes with DD reading two "My Little Pony" book with her, helping her sound out the words. She's coming along fine.

By the time all that was done and everyone was dressed it was after 12, and I took them off to Chili's where we had a really delightful lunch. They were so good and ate so well that I was happy to order the big gooey dessert for us all to share. It was really nice, even if there was a bratty toddler in the booth right behind me. Didn't matter, because my own were so well-behaved. I realized that before my surgery the depth of my "bad feeling about this" extended to not knowing whether or not I would ever be able to do that again, and I was just so appreciative that I could, and that it was such a nice time.

Then we went to Target so the kids could spend their dollars from Gramma, and they all got stuff they liked and I found some pants for DS2 to try on at home (the mediums just fit, so that's no good, but I'll keep the larges and hem them; they were inexpensive, too). Then, although I would've loved to go on down to Border's, I showed some restraint and came home.

All 3 kids bought Slinky jr's, and I wanted to show them how they walk down stairs, but of course the regular stairs are much too tall for Slinky jr's, so I built a pyramid out of the cardboard blocks for the Slinkies to walk down, and it actually worked pretty well. DH came home in the middle of that.

Then, before I knew it, it was time for snack and then 4:30 Mass, and off I went with DS1. Mass itself was quite short as the priest's English was labored, but after Mass there was a Eucharistic Procession which was beautiful but soooo long, poor DS1 has never spent so much time kneeling -- at that point I was ready to drop, myself, and I kept welling up with tears from being overwhelmed by so many emotions at Mass. Fortunately, I never broke down completely, and DS1 was his typical self and didn't notice anything. He is either extremely observant or in his own world, and he was in his own world which was a good thing, I suppose...

On the way home from Mass I realized that I was done for the day, as DS1 was chatting away as he usually does, asking all sorts of questions. I had to say, "I'm sorry, I can't talk anymore right now, I'm just exhausted... just until we get home, OK? I'm not mad at you, you haven't done anything wrong, I just don't have anything at all left to give you... I'm sorry." I think he understood because he was quiet until we got home. I walked in and told DH, "I'm done... I'm leaving dinner in your capable hands," and he told me my sister called, so I grabbed my cellphone, went upstairs, and called her.

We talked for over 2 hours!! That was awesome... it had been so long since we had talked, it was a vacation. And since I was upstairs in the bedroom no one pestered me and I didn't have to deal with anything at all. DH is a saint. I only got off the phone when he hustled them upstairs to get them ready for bed, and then I helped a bit in the pajama-ing process, and we all said prayers together and then tucked them in, and here I am.

Oops, forgot dinner. Don't really feel like eating but I'll go grab something. I told my sister, I never was as sick as if I had the flu, but I feel like I'm just getting over it. That same been-through-the-wringer feeling. Plus the whole emotional tides thing is brutal, too. I took a bunch of tissues into Mass with me because I knew I would need them, and I was right. On the upside, though, I sang easily today... that was so lovely! I'm very grateful for being able to sing... and so many, many other things.

It was a good day.

Friday, November 19, 2004


Although in this case, freedom looks a lot like a ton of housework...

I cut off my "Caution: Radioactive Material" bracelet at 2:30, then I took a shower, and then I cleaned out my iso chamber, which meant wiping down everything in the bathroom, stripping the bed, and washing everything. Four loads of laundry later, I think I'm done.

The kids were happy to see me but mostly supremely unconcerned, which is a good thing, I suppose. I got some good hugs and kisses and then they were off to play upstairs and outside and all over the place. I can say without any qualifiers that they are great kids.

I'm exhausted, emotionally more than anything else. I had a great conversation with one of my best friends back in MA, and we talked up and down a dozen different topics when all of sudden I was on the brink of tears... just came out of nowhere.

This is hard. I don't feel too bad physically, although my neck/throat feel weird. I still feel slightly flu-ish, just a little bit crummy all over. But I don't feel dreadfully ill. I do feel like I've been through the wringer, I guess. Back on meds for 2 days now, and hopeful that they will soon help smooth out these emotional tsunamis that totally overhwelm me without warning. So far it hasn't happened in front of the kids, but that's just because I haven't spent too much time with them.

Dinner was pick-up, clean-out-the-fridge, which was necessary... and still delicious. After that, I'm really not sure what happened to the evening -- kids got baths, etc etc. They really like the sour JellyBelly beans I bought for myself but didn't eat, so they had fun eating those for dessert (10 each! they were so excited. Such a tiny amount, actually.)

I think the high point was just hanging out with DD in her room for a while. She had set the table for a tea party and was very pleased with herself. She had also arranged her animals nicely inside her castle. She has a really great little girl's room, although there is defnitely more work to be done in there... I hope I can find some energy to get it done! It is such a pleasure to see how much she enjoys the things she has. I remembered this evening that her teacher had given her a charm bracelet last year, and I kept it for her knowing it would never last if I gave her to her then. So I gave it to her this evening, and she loved it, and I know she will take (reasonably good) care of it, too. She was so happy to have it, and since it is hers, there was no reason for me to be hanging onto it. It's nice that it is so easy to make them happy.

Off to bed now. DH has a retreat for his RCIA tomorrow, and he'll be gone from about 8 until 3ish. We'll see how it goes here with the kids. I'd like DS1 to work ahead on his homework, because even though there is no RE this week, Nana and Papa are coming and I know he's just not going to want to to do it then!

I can't believe Thanksgiving is Thursday. I am soooo not ready! We'll get there somehow or other.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

almost normal

I conked out for a few hours this afternoon, much needed, apparently. I feel slightly flu-ish... not horribly sick, just a little icky. My neck feels funny where all my glands are swollen and behind my surgery scar, where I'm sure any thyroid remnants are doing epic battles with the RAI.

And things taste weird... was it too many sour candies, or is this the altered taste that Dr. L warned me about?

About 7:30 or so I pleaded hunger, and DH shoo'ed the kids upstairs for their baths, so I came out and got dinner. DH had brought home Chinese food and even though I wasn't really feeling all that great -- probably because I was so hungry -- I put together a plate of shrimp and broccoli, and put two spring rolls in the toaster oven to heat up. Now, this is most excellent shrimp and broccoli, but my taste buds were just not that into the broccoli... RAI is so reminding me of being pregnant! It was exactly the same thing! The shrimp were really good. The spring rolls were good, too, but the spicy mustard did nothing for me -- I mean, it tasted good, but it didn't give me that watch-out-woooosh! feeling. Hmmmm.

Then I had 2 cups of sweet wild orange Tazo tea which my so considerate DH picked up for me at Starbucks. He doesn't like it, the combination of tart orange with the spearmint aftertaste was too weird for him, but for some reason I'm finding it really delicious. It is tart enough to make my mouth water, plus it isn't bloating me up when I drink a lot. Win-win. Girl's gotta love that.

I have slacked off on the liquid consumption, but I'm well past the 48 hour mark now anyways. I'm still plenty hydrated and will drink more before I go to bed. I'll take another shower, too. I am too cat-like to be good on the shower thing. I don't shower every day. I just got out of the habit when DS1 was newborn and I didn't have the time, and now I just don't see the need. If I have a grungy day and I need to shower, I do, but for the most part I'm sedentary and I have wicked dry skin, so I shower every other day and it works out fine. So I don't like all this getting wet.

The only time I shower every day is on beach days... the after-beach shower, that clean, exhausted, sun-soaked feeling is perhaps my favorite of all. (sigh)

So, I actually ate dinner at the table in my usual seat, and read the paper. Then I watched "In a Fix" and Brit Hume from the TiVO, and DH sat across the cavernous room and watched Brit with me. (During IAF, he was even further across the cavernous room at this very same computer I am now typing on.)

Then he went up to bed, and I surfed over to The N and got the last half of a Daria episode I had never seen before (!!!), in which Daria has a dream that Kevin was murdered and she is investigating it. Very funny, I'll have to keep my eye out for it and TiVO it when it repeats again -- I can't believe I missed it! Now the only one I haven't seen is the "Daria, the Musical," because the listing always says that when it's the episode where Daria gets contact lenses, so I have TiVO'd the wrong ep at least 3 times now. It's permanently screwed up. I need to TiVO the contact-lens ep, but I've yet to catch that one in the listings -- and see if it is actually the musical ep. OK, OK. I've got a thing for teen-oriented programming. Plus I really like Daria, she reminds me of me at that age: smart and out of the mainstream, but successful in my own way. I'll just gloss lightly over the failures, as it's way too late to get into them now, and here? No, thanks.

Slowly starting to think about planning for Thanksgiving. Shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. Whee! And pie. Must have pie. Maybe several pies, damn the carbs! I'm recovering from cancer, I can have all the pie I want... which of course I will make as LC as possible. Hee!

So I had a pretty normal evening, including surfing on the normal computer, and eating a relatively normal dinner, and watching TV as I normally might, and blogging here as inevitably do. I even feel a bit more normal, bodywise, less bloated. OK: not fat. I've been feeling a panicky "what is going on with my body?" thing the past few days, but whatever it was, it seems to have past. Or passed. Or both. (hee)

I'm getting silly and should get off, I suppose. I'm looking forward to coming OUT tomorrow afternoon and hoping fervently I never have to go back IN. Just a few more hours, OK, more than a few, but less than a day.

Can't wait to hug my babies.

At 2:30PM, I get to take this off and throw it away, and rejoin humanity:

Of course, I also have to take a shower, wash all my clothes and bedding separately, clean the bathroom thoroughly, and dispose of my trash separately as well, but then the Radiation Vacation will be over!

day 2 in iso

It's just over 48 hours since I took the RAI. I think I have spent at least 6-8 hours on the phone, and probably 20 or more online, since this laptop is my constant companion. The TV in here is not hooked up to the outside world, but once I realized I'd be online, I told DH not to bother with it. I don't miss it, really. I may sneak out and watch Brit Hume tonight in the family room after the kids are all upstairs in bed, though. I should at least purge the TiVO list, which has news shows and what-not for the past week or so... I haven't been keeping up at all. I do so much reading online I don't feel I really need to watch anything to keep up with what's going on in the world. It's such a relief to be untethered from the TV this way.

I had another night of broken sleep, but woke up feeling better anyway. The swelling in my face is down a little bit, I think. It's hard for me to tell. I just took some ibuprofen because I realized I have a headache, probably from muscle tension, holding my head in one position for too long, reading this screen! I have to watch that. Lucky for me, I know some excellent and easy exercises to reset my shoulder and neck muscles when they get all tensed up. Now if I could just remember to do them with any regularity...

Dr L called to see how I am tolerating the RAI. He had a chance to read through the book and he loved it, and encouraged me to pursue publication. That's very cool, huh? Dr M also called, after 9pm(!!!) to tell me it's OK to go back on my T4/T3, same dosage as pre-op, since my last labs showed me as pretty well suppressed before.

I did take them this morning, but I can't tell whether or not I feel any better. Last night I was feeling pretty crummy. Dr L warned that would happen, as the thyroid dies off...hopefully the new T4/T3 coming in will mitigate that effect somewhat. I have to just take it easy and see what happens. When I finish this entry, I am taking a nap!

I've had several great conversations with my older sister, my mom, my dear local friend T, and an old alt.tv.farscape bud who gave me a call today. That last was a surprise but not suprising, you know? It's the kind of guy he is... he has been through RAI before and was sympathetic and encouraging. I know a lot of really nice people.

I've been bouncing around online today, leaving comments here and there... it's nice to be able to do that and not feel like I am neglecting something I should be doing, since there is literally nothing else I have to do. I started writing out notes (longhand... what a trip) for two other books that will not quit pestering me, who knows what will come of that?

Oh, and last night, the Princeton Review sent me an email asking if I would like to audition for their December training sessions. I immediately replied, politely declining and explaining the cancer situation very briefly. I asked about re-applying in the Spring if I am up to it, and the recruiting director wrote back that I should contact her in March. So we'll just have to see how it goes.

Dr M (the endo) is 100% certain I'll need a follow-up scan in 6 months, so that brings us to May. That kind of sucks, because if I need follow-up surgery it will really screw up the summer. OTOH, if I need follow-up surgery, I can do it when all 3 kids are in camp. We can even stick them in aftercare, so DH can drop them off in the morning and pick them up in the evening, it won't be too terribly disruptive. Eh, it will work itself out. I'd just like to make summer plans again... wishful thinking? It's too soon now, anyway.

I've done a lot of writing but no other work while I've been in here, even though I brought in some handwork to do if I decide to watch a dvd. I'm just not in the mood. Maybe I will be later, though. I feel a bit sludgy in my brain now... time for that nap. More later, maybe...

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

thyroid & thyroid cancer, 101

It was brought to my attention today that I use a lot of terms and abbreviations that are not familiar to anyone who hasn't had thyroid problems, or thyroid cancer.

So I thought I would put together an entry of the most common terms and abbreviations I use.

First, the thyroid is a little gland shaped like a butterfly on the front of your neck. It produces a bunch of different kinds of hormones, but all of them are related, and all of them are used by our bodies to regulate our systems: T4 is made most abundantly, then to a much smaller degree, T3, and then T2 and T1 and some other stuff, too. T4 can be converted in our bodies into all the other thyroid hormones, so a lot of doctors think you only need to take T4.

People who have hypothyroidism, like me, have thyroids that don't make enough T4, etc.

We supplement this with synthetic T4. The two most popular brands are Synthroid and Levoxyl. There are literally millions of people in the US on these drugs, because hypothyroidism is quite common.

I also supplement with T3, with the brand name Cytomel. It works for me.

Many times I'll refer to "hypoT" or "being hypo", which is just shorthand for saying "hypothyroid", which is way too long to type all the time.

Being "hypo" can bring with it a whole bunch of symptoms. Probably the most common, which I do not have, is intractable weight gain. Then again, I am pretty stringent in my diet and try to keep my carbs controlled. Again, that's what works for me.

My thyroid problems stem from Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disease. My body started attacking my thyroid... maybe because of the cancer? Which came first, the Hashi's, or the cancer? It's hard to tell. Hashi's is just short for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, as I'm sure you've figured out by now. It causes hypothyroidism.

Before my surgery, my only thyroid diagnosis (sometimes I will abbreviate that as dx) was thyroid nodule on the right lobe, consistent with Hashimoto's.

A nodule is just an unusual mass, like a cyst or a tumor. Nodules can be benign or malignant. Up until my surgery, there was no concrete indication that my nodule was malignant. Indeed, my surgery showed that I had malignancy -- cancer -- outside of the nodule, too.

I had significant metastases, that is, the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes and underlying soft tissue around the thyroid. My surgeon worked a long time getting out as much as he could.

The tests I had done before my surgery were ultrasound which I often call u/s. This is painless; the technician smears some gel on the throat and they use sound waves to look at the soft tissues in the neck. They can measure how big the thyroid is, and see if it has any unusual characteristics. It is an excellent diagnostic tool as far as it goes, but it can't be used to diagnose cancer.

My u/s showed a lot of calcifications in the nodule and other structural changes in the thyroid itself which were worrisome to my endo, the doctor who treats my thyroid condition, short for endocrinologist. Endos are specialists not just in thyroid issues, but in the entire endocrine system. It's huge and complex. EndocrineWeb is a great site that can give you a ton of information about the Endocrine System.

The other test I had was an FNA or fine needle aspiration biopsy. This test involves obtaining cell samples from the nodule using a thin needle. The endo sticks the needle into the nodule (using u/s guidance in my case -- she looked with the u/s to be sure it was going where she wanted to collect the sample from). FNAs hurt but not unbearably so.

The biggest problem with FNAs is that they collect very tiny samples, and unless you get lucky, the FNA may miss the real story, as it did with me. There was a "rare pseudonuclear inclusion" on my FNA pathology report, which was supsicious but didn't warrant even a mention of cancer. However, this, combined with the changes my endo observed on the thyroid u/s was enough for her to recommend the thyroidectomy, or surgical removal of the thyroid.

After my surgery, a few new abbreviations come into play:
LID, or Low Iodine Diet
This is a pretty restrictive set of dietary guidelines designed to maximize the effectiveness of RAI (see below). No dairy, nothing from the sea, no iodized salt, and nothing commercially prepared with salt, since there's no way to tell whether they used iodized salt or not... it has been an interesting experience. Particularly the no dairy aspect!

NucMed = Nuclear Medicine, my Dr L. He is the one who administered my dose of RAI (see below) to ablate, or kill off, any remaining thyroid or thyroid cancer cells still around my body.

RAI = Radioactive Iodine
This is the "magic bullet". Since the type of cancer I have is well-differentiated, which means it's cancer of thyroid cells, it can be treated by taking advantage of a unique property of thyroid cells: they are the only cells in the body that will absorb, or uptake, Iodine. If we give them Iodine that is radioactive, the particles emitted from the RAI will disrupt the thyroid cancer cells and kill them.

Of course, the radiation from the RAI that is still circulating in my body is being emitted constantly, and it is collecting in my salivary glands, as well as in liver, kidneys, and bladder -- that's why it's so important to flush out those areas constantly after the dose is administered, to reduce any potential side effects to those organs. I'm swilling lots of water to keep everything moving and wash out the RAI.

It's easy to wash the RAI out of those other systems, but it will stay inside the thyroid cancer cells, and in any hapless remaining normal thyroid cells as well. Hopefully, they'll die off.

The doctors will get a good look for any other metastases when I go for my WBS, or whole body scan. The scan will show where there was uptake, where Iodine was absorbed by thyroid/thyroid cancer cells.

After the scan, we'll have some idea of where we stand with metastases and remaining thyroid/thyroid cancer tissue. Then I will be monitored via blood tests to see what's happening. The main two things that will be looked at are:
Tg, or thyroglobulin, which is a substance produced by thyroid and thyroid cancer cells. Basically, I shouldn't have any. If I have a certain level, or if the level starts to increase, that can indicate a recurrence of the cancer.

TSH or Thyroid stimulating hormone, is produced by the pituitary gland to request the production of thyroid hormones. I will take a dose of T4/T3 (most likely) to suppress the pituitary from ever making any TSH at all -- since we don't need anything around that could stimulate any remaining thyroid cancer.

A few other common abbreviations around here:
DH, DD, DS1, DS2: Dear Husband, Dear Daughter, Dear Son the first, Dear Son the second... even though I use my own name here, I have "a thing" about not using my husband's name, or my kid's names, or anyone else's name in my personal life, actually. You may be reading this and thinking, "I know who she's talking about," and that's fine. I just don't feel I have the right to be putting anyone's business but my own out here, and if I don't name any names, well, then, it's not gossip. OTOH, this is a space for me to work out the insanity in my life, so there will be times when I talk about things that other people do that make me crazy. I just don't talk about them by name.
LC = low carb, my way of eating for about 6 years now
MILC = Make It Low Carb, my monthly column published at LCL,LowCarbLuxury.

Hope this helps! I will update this if anything else occurs to me.


Having RAI is a lot like having a new baby. You have to force fluids when you're nursing, so you're constantly drinking and peeing. Same deal with the RAI, only moreso. Moreso to the point where I woke up every two hours last night just so I could go to the bathroom -- the broken sleep is another point of similarity. Then I sucked on some Altoids and chugged 16 oz of water before falling back to sleep again. I went to bed about 12ish, woke up 2ish, 4ish, and 6ish and felt absolutely wrecked, so at 6 I gave myself a break and didn't drink all 16oz, and I slept until about 9:30 or so, although I did drift up to the surface when I heard the morning hustle out there.

Since there was absolutely nothing I could do to help, I just let myself go back to sleep.

In that last 3 hours of sleep, all the glands under my chin have swollen up. Yeppers, I'm one of the lucky ones that gets a mumps-like reaction. I'm not surprised, but man, it hurts! It's like TMJ only worse. Every time I open my mouth, tenderness announces itself unpleasantly all along the jawline and behind the joint itself. Ow. I'll have to scout out some Motrin when I foray into the kitchen for breakfast. I can't eat for another half-hour or so because I woke up so late to take my anti-biotic, but that's OK because I'm not hungry anyway, having been swilling candy and water all night long.

I'm about 100% sure that there is more cancer in those nodes, so I'm hoping that the swelling means the RAI is getting in there and kicking some butt. My salivaries are still working great, which is good news. The NucMed dr (Dr L from here on out, I'm tired of typing that out) stressed how important it is to keep flushing them the first day, so I've got to keep up that regimen as much as I can stand today.

It ain't easy. I can see why they'd keep people in the hospital for this, although if I had nurses bullying me to drink and then to pee and eat my candies and whatnot, I would probably want to cry. As it is I've been teetering on the brink but haven't fallen over yet. Wearing my retainer is helping protect the roof of my mouth, so I think I'll keep it in between meals, at least until my mouth heals.

Well, I should see about breakfast. And ibuprofen!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Oh, I hate typing on this keyboard. I had several nice paragraphs and then hit something and they disappeared! Grrrrr. I'll get used to it.

I'm water-logged. Ever since I took the pill, I have been drinking and peeing, but I don't think I've ever forced fluids to this extent before. It's important to keep flushing the body thoroughly to wash away the excess RAI as quickly as possible. The longer it sits around, the higher the chances of it hurting something else that it is not intended to hurt.

Case in point: salivary glands. Another thing I have to do frequently is suck on hard candies to flush them out, too. The Altoids Sours are fantastic. I have always loved sour candies since I was a tiny girl, and these are definitely the best I've ever had -- except maybe some Norwegian jellies I bought in Oslo, once. But it's not like those are readily available to me at this point.

The Jelly Belly Sours are OK but too small and too sticky to really do the trick. Maybe if I pop 4 or 5 at once I can get a good chew out of them? I'm probably better off with the Altoids. I stick them under my tongue and it's like Niagra Falls in there... excellent! So far, anyway.

The NucMed dr was insistent on this, especially as I took a pretty high dose for my size. He even wants me to get up at least once or twice overnight to drink and have more candy. I don't think it's going to be a problem, because I can't imagine going more than 3 hours without having to pee. My bladder just isn't up to it! (chug chug chug)

I took my first of several showers about 8:30, and used my new CVS lotion. Perhaps it's because of the RAI, which the doctor warned me will most likely alter my tastebuds, but this lotion smells like roses to me, which is my absolute favorite scent. I bought it because it was the CVS version of Lubriderm and it was quite a lot less expensive, so why not give it a try? I smelled it in the store and thought it was pleasant enough, but at this point I really love it.

Then again, I could just be crazy/bored.

I am pretty pooped. I was up late re-writing the book, and then spent about two hours this morning pencilling in the illustrations. It's 24 pages. The NucMed dr seemed quite impressed with it, he took the time to leaf through it a bit this afternoon. To tell the truth, the dr seemed quite impressed with me, which kind of flustered me a bit.

I've been through a lot but don't consider that I've done anything all that extraordinary, but what do I know? The dr said, "I know you'll do well. I don't think I've ever had a patient who was so well-informed and well-prepared." (blush)

I think it's very important to accept compliments graciously, and so I did. I was surprised that the dr actually stayed and chatted with me for 10 minutes or so after I took the RAI: it comes in a little round lead cylindrical box, and there are "warning: radioactive material" stickers all over it. I didn't actually get to see the capsule itself since he didn't want me to touch it, and neither did he -- he picked up the little cup the capsule was in (inside the lead cylinder), and tipped it right into my mouth. It felt small, just like one of my supplements. It was easy to swallow.

About a minute later, the dr took the Giger(sp? I always want to spell it Geiger but I think that is the artist who invented the Aliens Alien, very creepy stuff) counter and measured how much radiation I was emitting. Using a tape measure, at 1 meter I was generating a field of 28 miCu/hour; at 30 cm it was 124 miCU/hour. Radioactivity is a great real-world example of something that operates exponentially.

So then he shook my hand -- I said I would but I didn't think it was such a good idea, and he was supremely unconcerned and said, "Of course I'll shake your hand," and did so. Then off he went, and I had to sit there for an hour, which went by pleasantly enough with me sipping water and dozing. Then I went to the bathroom because the last thing I needed was to have to pee on the way home, when the traffic was going to be bad -- which it was, and I didn't, so that was good.

It's so odd being home and not out there.

DH didn't go back to work as by the time we got home it was after 4. He took them out to Boston's for dinner (pasta and pizza... is there anything on their menu I would even want to eat?) and then I went out to the kitchen and made my own dinner: diced up some fresh Romas, sauteed with garlic and Italian seasonings, threw in the cooked peppers and zucchini: instant almost ... what? brain lock, here... it's a Provencal dish that also usually has eggplant -- ah, there it is: ratatouille. I love it, except I usually leave out the eggplant. Hee.

I threw in some cooked chicken and that was supper. And since I've been swilling water and sucking hard candies all evening, the idea of actually eating anything is pretty repulsive to me. I don't think my body is purging this water as well as it could, which is probably a function of both the hypoT state and possibly the RAI itself. Still, I've seen my ankles lots puffier than they are now. Wonder how they'll look in the morning? My hands are a bit puffy, but not too bad: my rings are not sliding around the way they usually do, but they haven't become too tight, either.

Man, water retention sucks.

I'm blogging in my new pajamas. I love them, but they cost too much. DH really likes them (a lot!), and when I told him I felt guilty about how much I spent on them, he brushed it off immediately. Sweetheart.

It was bittersweet listening to DH help DD read "Hop on Pop" all by herself tonight. I should've started her on the Dr Seuss books earlier, but things have been so discombobulated. At least we've been reading "Little House" together, which is awesome. But she will progress very quickly now. I think she will soon be reading those Little House books herself!

It is lonely to be in a house full of people and not be able to get any hugs, or even pat the cat. I sat in the hallway and DH stood in the kitchen for a little while this evening after the kids were all in bed and we talked a little bit, but it is not very comfortable and there really isn't much going on that we haven't discussed already, since we've spent a good deal of time in the car together lately. He is such a blessing.

Oh: Dr T's office called this morning, pretty much first thing, and said there was a suspicious lymph node -- does not surprise me -- and the dr wanted a CT scan with contrast. I had to explain the RAI/WBS situation to the nurse, and to please have the dr call me if he has questions about it. I will make arrangements to get the U/S results up to the NucMed dr, and to get the scan results from the WBS to Dr T, and then everyone can decide what's going on with that lymph node.

I did ask the NucMed dr about whether or not further surgeries would be necessary, and he said we really have to wait and see what the scan says, and how my blood levels of Tg are post-ablation. I'm going for the scan next Wednesday, after my follow-up with my surgeon, who is right up the street.

It's hard to think that the thyroidectomy was already almost 4 weeks ago. Four weeks ago
I didn't know I have cancer. Four weeks ago, the election hadn't happened yet. A pretty momentous four weeks...

I went to St Mary's with DS2 just after 9 and received the Sacrament of the Sick. It was awesome, in the true sense of the word. Mom told me it would make me feel better. She was right. I think it's wonderful that you don't have to be at death's door to receive it anymore. I can certainly use all the help I can get. These days I do feel buoyed by all the prayers everyone is saying for me. I know they are helping sustain me through this.

I would like to work on my other book while I'm in here, too, but I think I may just veg out....we'll see if the ideas will leave me in peace, or whether they will pester me so much that I have to do some work!

an observation (snacking)

I had a ziploc bag of pecans in my tote bag. They are a great low carb snack, and legal on the LID as well, and very portable. So I have been putting a couple of handfuls into a baggie and just keeping it in the tote.

This afternoon when I got back from the hospital I wanted a snack and found those first, so I nibbled away at them while I surfed the web.

I ate the entire bag.

What's weird is that, I buy the pecans in a one-pound bag from Trader Joe's all the time. I want a snack, I go to the pantry and get a handful, and eat it. I can't remember going back for another handful -- usually one is enough to do the trick. I certainly could never polish off the whole bag!

But if I've got 2 or 3 handfuls in a smaller bag, I just keep eating until they are finished. It's as if I have some weird internal wiring that says "small bag = individual serving, large bag = grab a handful," even when it's obvious that I should be taking just a handful out of the smaller bag, too.

I've done this 2 or 3 times recently, so it's not just that I was distracted this afternoon, either. I think it may have something to do with when and where I am eating the small-bag pecans vs just having the luxury of walking over to the pantry for a handful.

I also think I need to start just putting one handful into those ziplocs, no matter how pitiful it looks. I know it's enough. I've been allowing myself a bit of emotional eating these past few weeks since the surgery and especially on the LID, and it is not helping!


DH reminded me this morning that we own two fairly common pieces of technology: a laptop computer and a wireless network, and he suggested I could quite easily use both and thus have online access for the duration of my isolation.

It took about 10 minutes fiddling, as I had to take the wireless USB off the other computer and plug it in here, and then remember the WEP key, which I did nearly instantaneously. Then I rebooted the main computer and router and all was well with the 'net.


Also: it is a sign of how much brain function I don't have, that I didn't think of it myself.

Bonus upside is that this laptop also plays dvds, so I brought in all my chickflicks and also the Extended versions of LOTR, Fellowship and Two Towers -- neither of which I have seen in peace. Tomorrow might be LOTR day...

Only downside, really, is that I hate typing on this keyboard. And I am so far too embarassed to go and post at the forums I said "bye for now" on this morning, before DH reminded me about the laptop! I'll get over it. DH is awesome.

Monday, November 15, 2004

home for the duration!

The meeting with the Nuclear Medicine doctor today went very well. We reviewed all the precautions and decided that it would be safe for me to stay home!


I'm so happy I could do the Snoopy dance!

We had an excellent consult. The doctor complimented me on how well-informed I was. I laughed later, and told DH I am becoming a professional patient. For now, though, that's not such a bad thing.

Anyway, I've a ton of stuff to do and not much time to do it in, so I may not get to post again until Friday night -- at which point I'm sure my head will be exploding! But I have to be disciplined and get to this stuff now, because as soon as I swallow that pill, I won't have the opportunity to go roaming around the house anymore -- until Friday afternoon, that is.

The only real news is that he's suggesting a 200 milliCurie dosage, which is quite honestly the largest dose I've ever heard of. But considering the mess they found in my neck, I think it's appropriate. I bought 3 tins of different flavored sour Altoids to help keep my salivary glands functioning. M and I each tried one this afternoon and both agreed, WHOA those puppies are strong -- as are all Altoids -- I knew they would do the trick! Here's hoping they do, as having dry mouth can really be a bummer, and I already have enough problems with my teeth.

The NucMed doctor even agreed to look over my kids' book for me! happy happy happy
And, my whole body scan (WBS) will be scheduled on the same day I'm already up in Phoenix for my follow-up with the surgeon, so as to minimize inconvenience.

Anyone who doubts the power of prayer has obviously not been through anything like my recent experiences. This could be such a nightmare, and there have been a few rough spots, but all in all, things are going very well. The dr explained that this first time "going hypo" is not usually so bad because there is some thyroid tissue remaining after the surgery, so I needn't worry so much about how good I'm feeling. See, even that small concern has been lifted.

What a great day. I even bought some cute new winter pajamas to wear during isolation... have to run and get those into the wash now, though. So much to do, so much to do! And then it will be just sit for 3 days, but that's OK.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

riding the tide

Last night, I crashed hard. I was so chilled when I went to bed that I just slept in the yoga pants and turtleneck I'd had on all day. I slept pretty much straight through to almost 10 this morning, which is definitely the longest sleep I've had since the surgery. Maybe it's because I didn't have a late cup of tea, and so I didn't need to get up to pee? Could be. It has been pretty annoying waking up consistently at 6:30AM lately. I don't need to be up that early, pretty much ever.

I also find it ironic that I'm having trouble sleeping when everyone says I should be doing nothing but sleeping!

Getting up was a little tougher, as in I really didn't want to move at all, but once I got up I was fine. I concocted a new coffee additive: coconut milk+Designer Whey, and it was actually good! I enjoyed my coffee this morning, and drizzled some maple syrup over my apple pancakes, and it was lovely.

I declined to leave the house today. I have a sense that at any moment I'll just drop like a stone, and I didn't want that to happen in public. After the way I crashed last night, it really is not that unlikely. Plus, I am in no shape to drive. My reflexes are shot. If I were ever in an accident, God only knows how my my poor body would deal with it! No, better safe than sorry, so I spent the day alternately puttering and lying around, although there really wasn't all that much lying around.

DH went on a tear and vaccuumed the whole house. I feel guilty about that, but I also know I shouldn't. I'm glad he did it, though. I helped the kids clean up the playroom a bit this morning, so that was some help. And DH stripped all the beds, and I fished out the new lines for them so he could remake them, too -- I wasn't up to that, either.

I did, however, do about 6 loads of laundry today, including all the sheets from all the beds, including the guest room. When I'm done here I'll go fold clothes, the sheets I'm folding as they come out of the dryer. Creased sheets are one of life's most easily avoidable unpleasantnesses.

I made some whole wheat bread today, and while it tastes pretty good, my overall assessment was: meh. Nothing to write home about. Not all that different from the harvest whole wheat we get from Trader Joe's, for that matter. I need to pick up some King Arthur Unbleached AP White Flour from Trader Joe's on the next visit -- all I have now is the whole wheat, so I really didn't have a choice when I decided to make the bread. But it is bread that I can eat while on this diet, and I did enjoy the pieces I had of it. It was short work as I used the KitchenAid for the kneading. It will take some getting used to, that machine. I've had it for almost 10 years and am finally coming to terms with it!

This afternoon I showed the kids two ways to make card houses. DS1 was fascinated and pursued the multiple-teepees style, while I persisted at the three-card-start technique. But all of our cards are very slippery, which of course makes it really hard to build a good card house. For a good card house, you need baseball-type cards. My Irish twin brother went through an extended card-house-building phase when we were in our early teens, or maybe a little younger. He was freakishly good at it. I used to do it, too, but couldn't ever compare my efforts to his. He was much more patient and creative. I will have to mention to him that DS1 was wanting to build card houses and see if he has any advice for him.

I packed DH off to Trader Joe's and Sam's Club with my shopping lists, but all the cleaning plus trying to catch up on the finances combined to make that trip a bit too late to have the chicken for dinner. As things worked out, I ended up cutting up the two chickens and roasting them anyway, so I will have something to eat tomorrow: the kids finished off the leftover flank steak for dinner, along with some of the fresh bread and apples and pickles... yeah, we assemble some weird meals. Weird, but nutritious.

Then after dinner, I worked with DS1 on his Sacrament of Penance packet work (also credit for reading time, I love double-duty homework), while the peewees played on computer. When DD went up, I switched over to a Reader Rabbit game for DS2, and he played so sweetly and competently by himself. When DD came down, we read some more of "Little House in the Big Woods." We're almost done!

Nightly prayers now get said "on the big bed", our four-poster that is so tall the kids have to haul themselves up with great effort. I love that bed! Well, not the mattress so much, but bed itself is just wonderful. It's a King, so there is plenty of room for us all, at least while the kids are still small. And it is really lovely to say prayers together as a family.

Speaking of praying as a family, DS1 is still confused about what grace is, because he thinks it's just the prayer we say before dinner every day. I need to work on that with him.

So after they were all tucked in, DH headed back to work so he can get in a few more hours and have a whole day in the bag, so to speak, because tomorrow is looking like it might be a washout. I put away the chicken and took my shower. Then I folded a bunch of sheets, now I'm here.

At some point today I did some good work on my book, drafting out the illustrations. I think I will be able to work on them during my isolation -- it won't matter if I have to throw them all away, because I'll be working on them until I get them just right, anyway. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to have some uninterrupted time to work on my illustrations. I suppose it's a bit cocky of me to think I can do them myself, but I have ideas for each one, I know exactly how I want them to look -- the question is, do I have the skills to produce the image that is in my mind's eye? If not, can I develop it? I think I can, even if it will take a while. I did a very simple pencil sketch of the "Mom" for the book, and I have to say, it evoked exactly the feeling of a slight, weary sadness I wanted it to:

DD thought the Mom looked "a little sad, a little tired," when I asked her, "How do you think she feels?" So I think it works. Ultimately, the illustrations will be watercolor washes with black Sharpie outlines, but it will take some experimentation to get the look I want. How cool to have a project to work on during my isolation!

Eating today was not as nicely scheduled as other days, because my hunger is hit-or-miss, and I slept so late and got so distracted by kids this morning that I didn't have breakfast until after 11:30, and then had a way-late lunch at 3:30, dinner finally at around 7:30... yikes!
Breakfast: coffee with Designer Whey/coconut milk "cream", cinnamon, Splenda; 1/4 apple pancake drizzled with sf maple syrup
Lunch: a few slices of flank steak sauteed with a handful of green beans in garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt and lots of freshly grated black pepper. It was awesome.
Snack: Fuji apple
Dinner: 2 chicken thighs; the rest of the green beans tossed with o&v&s&p; a few bites of steak the kids didn't finish off; about 1/2 a Granny Smith apple
dessert: 2 squares of organic dark chocolate

I'm realizing I'm quite thirsty as I write this...chug chug chug, will 12 ounces of water do it, or will I need to go back again shortly? We'll see.

I'm just a little bit "puffy" today. I was still in freezing mode this morning so I didn't bother to weigh myself. My weight before my shower was up about 5 lbs from my usual morning weight, but that's not all that unusual. I know I'm retaining some fluid, I have permanent sock marks around my ankles.

And I'm warm now. Sometime around mid-afternoon, my thermostat readjusted and I stopped feeling chilled. That was good because there's nothing like having to shiver through a shower and the subsequent, can not be skipped under any circumstances, applications of body lotions and what-nots. If I skip the lotions, then I really itch... I remember the days after I discovered the Olay body wash stuff, I didn't have to use lotion anymore! It was wonderful. I hope to go back to that state, once my thyroid meds are re-optimized.

I'm about 100% certain that I'm experiencing the greatest case of adrenal compensation for hypothyroidism ever witnessed. I'm also scared that those poor little adrenals are going to burn themselves out, and I'll be left with Addison's on top of everything else. Wouldn't that just do me? Yet, I'm so hyper about adrenal fatigue and I do everything I can to support those little guys... the nutrition and supplementation I'm getting right now are excellent for them, and there's really nothing I can do about the hypoT situation. It should only be for a few more days! Hang in there, little guys!

One of my bros called me today to check in and heartily endorse "Polar Express". Eh. I'm waiting to see what my sis has to say; she's perhaps the only one who could persuade me to go (and take the kids) after reading Walter's lukewarm review, especially after the NYT's reviewer, with whom I am not familiar, was similarly left cold -- as was our local reviewer, who will not hesitate to tell it like it is. Ann Althouse had a great post on it, too. She just cracks me up.

Whoa -- just realized I never even glanced at the paper today! So you see, I have been busy!

I'm very hopeful the NucMed doctor will let me stay home... please please please? I'll be so very good and stay in the guest room as long as ever I need to, please don't stick me in the hospital! And I washed up all the linens for the guest room today so I'm all set to just move right in there!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

still not there yet

Well, I did fall unconscious (that is, I took a nap) after our late dinner this evening, but I was just feeling really tired.

I woke up at 6:30 this morning but dozed until sometime after 7, after which it was pretty much go-go-go until I crashed for the post-prandial nap.

So I'm wondering, when am I going to start feeling really, really crummy, the way everyone expects me to? I'm feeling the cold a bit more now, that's true. And I don't have a heckuva lot of spunk, either. But I managed to do a lot today, anyway. DH, foreseeing a week in which his working hours are incredibly disordered, put in about 5 hours at the office this morning, leaving me with the kiddos.

I made them bacon, scrambled eggs, and toast for breakfast, and then made myself an apple pancake. Then I played Yahtzee with the two older ones after cleaning up the kitchen. I puttered for a while and then made us all lunch, then cleaned up the kitchen again.

I think there must be more fogginess, now that I'm thinking of it, because there are big stretches of the day where I think, what was I doing, then? But it's just as likely that I was reading the newspaper (which I did) or online here and there (which I also did, always do).

When DH got home we took everyone out to the Mall and bought new shoes for DD and more pants at the Gap for DS1 -- alas, having brought the pants home for the try-on, they are cut much too slim! So much for that "regular" labeling, at least in this case. Grrrr. The kids were very good in the Mall and enjoyed their food court snacks. All 3 of them are in various stages of colds. DS2 has a faucet nose, poor dear. He keeps running over to the tissue box to grab one. Then he wipes his nose and throws the tissue wherever, which is just so annoying since there is literally a wastebasket directly underneath the desk on which the box of tissues is sitting! We're working on that one.

DS1 has a drippy nose, too, but he doesn't bother with tissues, he just sniffles and uses his sleeves. I know, I know, Ewww. We're working on it.

DD's cold is more settled in her throat/chest. She is fastidious, at least, and would no more leave mucous-y tissues around than I would. Bless her!

So perhaps I will just continue on this particular plateau on the Descent, until I can get my treatment -- I hope so. I am snippy but not unbearably so (I hope). I am more ready for this to be over, now, that's for sure!

breakfast: 1/4 apple pancake (too salty! What was I thinking?), coffee with Designer Whey protein powder, cinnamon, gingerbread syrup, which actually was not that bad. Not what I wanted, though.
lunch: sandwich made with two thin slices of Italian bread, brushed with olive oil, the last of the pork roast, lettuce and tomato, drizzled with more oil and some vinegar, salt & pepper
snack: a few sips of a dreadful tea at the Mall ("Calm"? Some nasty chamomile concoction; keep that stuff away from me!), a handful of pecans much later
dinner: salad with tomato and romain, o&v&s&p; steamed broccoli sauteed in olive oil with garlic, red pepper flakes, and lots of salt and black pepper; broiled flank steak. Yes, I made that dinner, the whole thing, after trudging around the Mall with the kids for a couple of hours. Where am I stealing this energy from?
dessert: 2 squares organic chocolate

Hands today the same, bothersome on waking but unremarkable otherwise.
My throat is a little more sore today, and the glands are still swollen and tender. Day 2 on Zithromax. I wonder when the glands will come down? If it's cancer there, will they have to be surgically removed, or will the RAI be sufficient?
Skin is starting to feel more lizard-like, especially the hands if I do any amount of dishes or cleanup, as I did today. At least for today my back wasn't itching. I think the hydrocortisone cream I slathered on after the shower helped a lot.

I'm out of my B-vitamin complex and must go to Trader Joe's tomorrow and get some more, should've gone today, but I'm feeling just a little too loopy/spacey to drive. I could if I had to, but I don't want to go that far and suddenly feel incapable of moving, as I did after dinner.

Some part of me is annoyed right now. I cooked dinner because DH decided to give the kids early bath tonight, so he went right up to draw the baths when we got home from the Mall. Which left me to make dinner, or else everyone starve or eat, what? Toast? I don't know what he was thinking. I did not (do not) have the energy to pick a fight with him over that decision: it's Saturday, couldn't they skip a day? Or did they already skip yesterday? That's possible, we really don't like to skip more than a day... See, there's evidence of somewhat muddled brain function. Anyway, I had a feeling I shouldn't have to make dinner tonight, but since there wasn't anyone else around to do it, I did.

How fortunate I was actually able to accomplish it! (sarcasm off, now)

IOW, can I ever catch a break?

OTOH, it's not like we could've just gone out for dinner. DH could've taken the kids out, for sure, but what was I supposed to do? Sit there and watch them eat? Not fun.

Eh. I'm still highly functional but definitely not normal. I think perhaps I'm feeling more emotional effects than I was initially willing to admit to. Yesterday I wore makeup because I felt I looked horribly pale (I do), today I didn't bother. I didn't bother to get dressed to go out, either, I just wore my gray yoga pants, blank turtleneck and orangey hoodie that I've been hanging out in all day. Not one of my better outfits. And my black boots are trashed, I really need to polish them, but I wore them anyway. My entire demeanor screamed, here is a woman who does not care how she looks, which is a big neon indicator that there is something wrong with me, ya think? Oh, yeah. Little Miss Vanity here would not usually be caught dead out-of-house in that outfit, unless it was a 30-second trip to the mailbox to fetch in the mail. I may slack on the makeup thing about 98% of the time, but I usually do much, much better on the clothes, mostly because I have a tremendous wardrobe of comfortable, well-fitting pieces. There was no reason for me to look like a schlub today, other than the fact I didn't care.

BP is holding up well, better than at the dr's yesterday AM -- in the low 100s/60s. And temp is holding steady at around 97 degrees. I don't want to fall into a myexdema coma, after all: my TSH has been rising so rapidly, I actually looked into the signs and symptoms of what dangerously low T4/T3 would be ("altered mentation" being the most likely first symptom). Ironically, myexdema comas rarely involve being comatose. I love how precise medical terms have much more general associations in common usage. (again with the sarcasm) It messes up perceptions quite a bit. But typically, temps drop to around 95, and BP bottoms around 80s/50s (which is where mine was yesterday morning, but maybe that was because it was before breakfast?) I've alerted DH what to do and what to tell the medical folks if I fall off that cliff. Could happen. Doubt it will, though. You never know. I've been pushing myself hard, even though it doesn't really feel that way.

This is just really, really odd.