Tuesday, October 31, 2006

one down, five to go

"Busy day" just doesn't seem to cover it.

I had storytime this morning, and it was fun seeing all the kids in their costumes, and the store had set up trick-or-treat stations for them to visit when we were finished. They had a blast. But, the store is in the midst of a major remodel, and the children's section is in complete upheaval -- who knows what it will look like tomorrow, they're supposed to work on it tonight -- so that added a layer of stress. Plus, I do love the little ones, but it's a lot harder to read to and engage toddlers (18 months to 2 years+) with stories and songs than it is with 3 and 4-year olds. When I subbed in the spring, we seemed to have more older kids. This year, it has been mostly babies. That makes it much more of a performance by me, and makes me accutely aware that the parents are focussing as much on me as on their kids, because their kids are mostly not yet capable of joining in the songs and dances, or even answering the simple questions I ask. Tomorrow's will be interesting because I'm still doing Halloween things even though Halloween will of course be over.

Halloween seems to be the one holiday that enjoys a huge build-up with lots of decorations, etc, that just evaporates as soon as the day itself ends. Even after Thanksgiving we've got the big shopping weekend and of course the turkey leftovers, or jokes about leftovers at least. Christmas and Easter linger for days. Somehow, with Halloween, once we hit November 1, it seems subtly wrong to still have a jack-o-lantern. We're done with that now, move along!

Back home, the kids did their homework agreeably before dinner; I took a short revitalizing nap, then spent 45 minutes taking the hem down on DS1's Grim Reaper robe. It was about a foot too short. We decided not to hem it at all, it's a lot more creepy dragging around on the ground, and I frankly do not care that it is a lot more dirty, too. I didn't feel like spending another 45 minutes putting the hem back in. DD's (new, pink) pretty witch costume was cute, and DS2 looked buff in his muscle Spider-Man suit (photos later, I don't want to deal with them now). We had dinner early, and I put out the jack-o-lanterns (that was yesterday's ordeal: the Great Pumpkin Search of 2006. A helpful clerk at Sunflower Market told us about to a pumpkin patch just a few miles away, and DH stopped on his way home from work to get them. Everyone else was out!)

DH took the kiddos trick-or-treating while I distributed the candy. I took a chair and sat outside, there was a little nip in the air but it was really quite pleasant. It was lonely, though. We're on the corner of the cul-de-sac and all the folks in there set tables in the center and do a communal trick-or-treat thing, but I don't go -- I've got those jack-o-lanterns out, and lit, and it just seems weird to have them out and not be home. We had the usual crowds of little kids dressed adorably who were clueless, elementary school-age kids who were having a blast, and teenagers, suprisingly well-dressed this year, who really are too old for this sort of thing. But since I had plenty of candy I didn't turn anyone away.

I did give up at about 7:45, though. At a certain point the only kids we're getting are the ones whose parents drive them around to different neighborhoods. When I saw ten kids pile into the back of a pickup truck, I was done.

So that was the first day of the current Stress Fest. Tomorrow is All Saint's Day, so we're doing Mass first thing, then I have storytime again. Thursday, my in-laws arrive. Before then, I have to clean the guest room and arguably the rest of the house, too. I am not motivated, but I'll get it done. Friday is DD's sleepover party; I have to make pizza and the birthday cake before then. Again: motivation is lacking. Saturday is DD's party up in Scottsdale; all I have to do is drive, but since I don't know where it is, I'm going to have to figure that out well before (tomorrow is a good time, I'm thinking.) Sunday we're thinking of going to the zoo to see the stingrays, but I haven't rsvp'd to the members-only invitation yet, so I hope it's not late. Monday, my in-laws head home and I should theoretically be able to breathe again.

Let me emphasize that my in-laws are great and I am not stressing about them visiting. It's just all the other stuff that is going on coincidentally with their visit -- of course, because they came out for DD's birthday -- that is making me a tad crazier than usual.

So there it is, lots to do, and honestly, plenty of time to do it in, if I stay focussed. So that means very little lollygagging at the computer for the next few days -- or, if I desperately need to decompress, more posting than usual.

Monday, October 30, 2006

where am I

The flood of relief that washed over me on Friday was nice, but not as liberating as I had hoped it would be.

I'm still teetering on some emotional brink somewhere. I think it takes a little while to recover from the stress of something like a breast biopsy, but I was hoping that the good news would flick the switch firmly back to the up position.

At home, things are going swimmingly, in this calm before the storm. Tomorrow is Halloween; Thursday my in-laws arrive. Friday is DD's sleepover birthday party, and Saturday is her Club Libby Lu party. My in-laws leave on Monday, and I suppose after that I'll be able to relax for a few weeks until Thanksgiving arrives -- but I really won't, because I've already started getting ready for Christmas. (Lots of people and presents to think about, and baking, and stuff like that.)

In the extended family, there are various situations of varying stress-levels that are affecting me, too. I hate being so far away. I hate not being able to help. I hate being out of the loop only to be brought back into it to find that some things have gone from bad to worse -- on the other hand, though, some things turned out to be nothing, not a problem at all.

But the good news never seems to cancel out the bad news. How can it? I can't not worry, or not be sad, about someone I love in difficulty just because I got some good medical news for a change. It's not possible to just switch that off, and even if it were, I wouldn't.

Compounding these melancholia are the stupid physical trials I'm still enduring. The splint, which I wear religiously every night, is by far the worst. Yes, it's helping my TMD, but at this point I'd rather have back the small but very, very important slice of my life that it has robbed: pillow talk. Honestly, wearing it is depressing me, but I will keep wearing it until my next visit with the doctor (just a couple of weeks) to ask him about alternatives. I'm bracing myself to be mocked about this, but I don't care. I'm fast approaching the point where I'd rather have jaw joint pain than wear the splint.

And besides the splint I'm dealing with the breast healing, which is fine except for when I forget that I have an incision there and do something stupid and then it's not fine; currently the breast is half yellow and half purple in that weird way that bruises tend to develop. At least it's not bikini weather, I say to myself by way of encouragement.

Off Aleve now for a week or so, and my weight has crept downwards a bit, whew! I'd still like to take off a few more pounds, but I don't care about the weight so much as I care about fitting into my clothes. Since I'm working out every day, I'm actually developing some muscle. If turning flab into muscle means my weight stays the same that's OK with me. My jeans fit comfortably now, which was my essential goal: avoid shopping! The physical therapy exercises are helping tremendously; I only get deathly headaches once a week now, as opposed to every day. And most days, my hip and tailbone are much better, but not today, for some reason! Ah, well. I'll keep it up anyway, because it helps.

A new problem has surfaced over the past week or so off NSAIDS: I'm having a lot of trouble swallowing, and my throat feels horrid. At least two or three times a day I have trouble swallowing my pills, and for a few nights in a row now, something will go down the wrong way at dinner and then I get (very painful) hiccups. So I'm back to wondering whether it's scar tissue or cancer recurrence, or maybe it's just delayed nerve damage. Whatever it is, it's annoying.

I literally have the feeling of just hanging on, and I don't know where I'm finding the discipline to work out and do housework and everything else. Everything's an effort but I can still see that these efforts are worth it, and so whatever it is, I get it done. I don't like this weird state but I don't know how to get out of it. I'm going to give it a little more time to resolve... I don't think this is something that medication could help. But if it goes on too long, that's an option I'll consider.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Friday Night Lights: more real than reality

1.4, Who's Your Daddy?

Four episodes in. I love this show. So far, production values are holding up, as are the stylistic choices with the handheld cameras and extreme closeups. The story doesn't move, it dances and weaves in and out of so many characters' lives, you think for sure they're going to forget someone, but then you remember that 30 seconds, or that two minutes, and that was enough to establish something new, or more, or important, for that person.

The skill with which this thing is put together is awesome.

At the same time, I can easily see that what I love about this show could be really offputting to people who like their television slow and easy. This show does not spell out anything -- Life does not spell out much, have you noticed? We have to figure things out for ourselves, and find the meaning. Sometimes it's just a coincidence, sometimes we get our ribs kicked in. And sometimes, getting your ribs kicked in may be a happy accident that sets you on the path to what you really wanted. And what does it all mean? Sometimes it doesn't mean anything, and knowing your left from your right is all that's important.

This episode did hit everyone: Jason, giving up, until his obnoxious roommate pisses him off so that he'll have someone to fight, if not the will to fight for himself, by himself, just yet; Lyla doing the go away speech with the come back expression with Riggs, who seems sincerely f'ed up over her; Voodoo and Smash, butting heads; Saracen with the weight of world on his shoulders: his OIF-fighting dad's low expectations, his grandmother's dementia, his fast-food job's trash-toting, his gormless longing for the coach's daughter; and finally, Tami and the Coach, the most realistic married couple ever to appear on network television, bar none.

The central action of the episode revolves around the traditional team party held by the Coach the week before the rivalry game. Tami finds out about the party with two days notice, and Coach isn't nearly apologetic enough. Then he totally screws up the headcount, telling her "60-ish" when it turns out to be not just the team but their parents and everyone even peripherally associated with the team. Try 100, 120, Coach? Sprinkled in among this stressful situation we also had the Panther's locker room vandalized, and Saracen being importuned by the offensive line (I think) to retaliate by trashing their opponent's QB's sports car, only to return home to an empty house: Grandma went wandering. Last but not least, Julie has a dance recital the night after the party, and you know Coach will burn in Hell if he misses it.

The best scene, by far: Tami cleaning up a beer spill at the party, absolutely fuming; Coach crouches down to talk to her and ask her to get up and help him host -- and Tami just loses it on him. Oh, it was classic: When I stand up, I'll give you the big smile, but while I'm down here, I'm pissed... Coach did not deal with it all well.

Then he digs himself even deeper by giving a non-apology apology the next day at school, but Tami totally calls him on it! It was brilliant. Finally, he redeems himself after the dance recital with a full and complete mea culpa: "I was wrong." And then they make out, and every woman in the audience wishes she were Tami in that very brief moment.

Kyle Chandler looked like hell in a few scenes, but fantastic in others. He is transparent; you can read the stress on him. Tami, on the other hand, has a beautiful facade; she can turn it on and off, which makes a lot of sense considering she is a guidance counselor. These two are so well-matched, you immediately accept them as a couple. And I love that this show is not just about Coach Taylor, but about his wife and his daughter, too.

Early in the episode, Coach tells Saracen to go for the girl he's interested in, get her into the back seat of a car, whatever it takes to loosen himself up. Of course he has know idea that Saracen is interested in Julie, and the twists and turns that end with a scene with Saracen and Julie discussing Jackson Pollack while Tami and the Coach look on from across a noise-filled room are unexpected and funny. Coach manages to catch Saracen's eye; he gives the boy A Look while explaining to Tami, "I think I just told that boy to get our daughter in the back seat of a car," when you know that if any such thing happens, Saracen wouldn't live to see daylight.

Best thing? Saracen knows that, and the fact that he even knows who Jackson Pollack is has Julie intrigued way more than she would ever be willing to admit. For now.

Next week: the big game; will Voodoo get the start? He was late to practice and disrespectful to the Coach, but that isn't nearly enough information to work with. Buddy has this Mephistophilean air about him; the guy gives me the creeps. We'll get to see how it all goes on Monday when the next FNL airs during Studio 60's regular timeslot.

the day after procedure day

I spoke to many people on the phone today. All I could tell them was that I'm doing fine, because I am, but I still don't know what's going on with the lump because it will be at least a little while before the pathology report comes back.

I'm only have a little bit of discomfort now and then, and Tylenol is handling it just fine. I did my exercises in the early afternoon and then braced myself for removing the bandages. (Thanks, Tracey, for the bandage-removing advice!)

For the curious, here is what the bandage looked like. It took me a good five minutes to peel it all off, even using a wet washcloth to soften up the tape.

I had a reaction the adhesive. Sometimes I don't, but yesterday, I did. So I had that huge dressing, and after peeling it all off, this is what I look like. The incision is not tiny but it's not huge, maybe two, two-and-a-half inches. Much, much worse than the incision is the rash I have from the adhesive. (You can see the slightly red areas where the tape was.) It does not just itch, it hurts. And it hurts more if I forget and scratch it. I'm hoping liberal applications of cortizone cream will calm it down quickly in the next few days.

If you look closely at the second photo, you can just make out the remains of the purple word "YES" that I had to write on myself before the procedure to make sure they went digging around in the appropriate breast. Since the lump had to be located via ultrasound, it didn't seem to me that precaution would be necessary, but I guess they don't take chances with that kind of thing.

Now I'm remembering the surgeon asking me beforehand, "The lump didn't go away?" I wasn't sure he was serious, but I still said, "No," because of course it hadn't.

I think I found that lump nearly 3 months ago, actually. Then I convinced myself that it was just my normal lumpy breast tissue, not wanting to be alarmist. When you have fibrocystic breasts it's hard to tell what's going on in there. And when I went for my annual, the NP at my gyn's office didn't feel it, so I figured that it was my imagination. But it probably wasn't.

I got dressed and went to school and came home and helped with homework and finally wrote my November column (carrot raisin cranberry bread); made a nice dinner and gave DS2 his bath and put the kiddos to bed and watched "Lost" (wretched program!) with DH, and kicked around 'the internets' some and now this.

Today was definitely a 'fake it till you make it' kind of day. I don't feel bad at all, I just don't feel much of anything. ("Comfortably numb") It's just the next phase in the near-depression I'm dealing with. I'm still functional but I won't be able to climb all the way out of this Slough of Despond until I get the pathology report. I'm working toward the shore, though.

Sometimes I can feel the sunlight pouring over me.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

procedure day

I went to bed closer to 1AM than midnight. The plan was, stay up until the last possible moment and have something to eat and drink, so I wouldn't be tremendously dehydrated this morning. So I had some tea and cookies at midnight, and that was fine, but then I was puttering around making the kids' lunches and whatnot. By the time I got into bed, it was nearly 1AM, and then Cooper was making a racket. He doesn't like to be alone, and he couldn't find Alice. So I brought him downstairs, and I couldn't find Alice, either. She wasn't in any of her usual downstairs sleeping places, and I was just about to start looking upstairs when DS1 came down with her, all droopy in his arms, saying, "This one was being sneaky."

Sneaky, indeed -- the door to the boys' room had been closed since they were tucked in. We had no idea she was in there! Cooper was happy to be reunited with his sister, and I finally went to bed...

... only to wake up at 4:30 with a full bladder, of course. I didn't need to get up for another 15 minutes or so, but of course I didn't get back to sleep. I got up and got dressed and came down, and M was already here to take me up to Phoenix. There were quite a few cars on the road but everything was moving along fine. We found the place, parked, and I checked in.

We waited for about half an hour, 45 minutes, and then they called me back. I changed into my hospital gown and booties, and they gave me warm blankets (that is definitely the best part). Before long the nurse came and gave me my IV, then the anesthesiologist came in to talk to me, then the OR nurse came by, and finally Dr. D, my surgeon came in 10 minutes before my procedure was scheduled. The next thing I knew, the anesthesiologist was giving me Versed, which stings something fierce coming through the IV. I remember my hand killing me, then not feeling too bad, and then I was waking up in the recovery room. I love Versed.

Awake in the recovery room, I drank some cranberry juice and felt a little spacy but fine. As I was getting dressed, my surgeon wandered by and asked, from the other side of the curtain, how I was doing. "Fine," I said, too looped to ask him any questions. And then it was time to go home! DH pulled the car around and we were home by 10:15.

I puttered for a while, had some beef barley soup, went back to bed at 11:30, and slept until 5. DH fielded about a half-dozen phone calls, everyone wanted to know how it had gone and if there was any word. The only word is that the surgeon will call me when the pathology report is in, and I'll just have to wait on that. The kids were fine today and had finished their homework (mostly) by the time I got up, and DH got us all takeout for dinner, so the evening was relaxing, too.

So far I'm doing well on just Tylenol. I have a prescription for something stronger but I really don't see the point if I don't need it. I get to take the bandage off tomorrow and have a shower. I'm dreading it, I don't want to look at the incision, and I don't want to have yet-another-scar. (Yes, I am being a baby about this.) Of course it's too late now.

It was nice to sleep most of the day, especially since I actually slept instead of the drifting in and out of consciousness that I usually experience after surgery. This one was quite short so I didn't need too much anesthesia, so I hope to be completely out of this wooly-headedness by tomorrow. My last two surgeries were much longer than anticipated, so it was very nice that this one went according to schedule. I can't allow myself to read anything into that, but for today, anyway, it's good not to be in a prolonged post-op daze.

Monday, October 23, 2006

my decision

I've decided I can't have breast cancer because I will be too embarassed to ever discuss it with anyone. Haven't I been through enough medical crap?

Today the hospital called, the registration and billing department this time. She went over my insurance information and I told her that I actually expect to hit the out-of-pocket maximum any day now, if BC/BS would ever finish processing the claims from my last trip to Houston. (Hello, that was August, people!) She was cool and said they wouldn't collect my facility fee up front, then. It wasn't that much money anyway, relatively speaking.

My mom got good news from her doctor today, her heart tests all came back normal. She is too ticked off over not having a diagnosis for her out-of-breath feelings to be happy about her heart! I know the feeling well. Poor thing, now she'll be doing a round of tests on her lungs. I hope she can get them done quickly and get an answer. She's feeling very frustrated.

My procedure tomorrow is at Oh-dark-thirty, so today I ran around like a lunatic and finished the cleaning and shopping I wanted to get done in case I don't feel like moving for the rest of the week. That made today completely insane, because we also had RE classes tonight. So I'm exhausted but also nervous, and who knows if I'll be able to sleep. I'm going to stay up till close to midnight anyway, since after that I can't eat or drink anything. So at 11:58PM I'll chug a bunch of water and hope I won't be too dehydrated for them to give me the IV 6 hours later. Fortunately, tomorrow I can sleep pretty much all day.

I'm still thinking this is a 50-50 thing, it could go either way. I haven't really given any thought at all to what I'll do if it is cancer, because I just don't want to think about it. And maybe, with a bit of luck, I won't have to.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

let's blame the meds

This isn't something I've mentioned at all, but recently I've noticed the scale ticking up, slowly but surely, lately. After spending the last three years hovering around 125 pounds, it feels weird (and squishy) to be closer to 140. More significantly, I'm wondering if I'll fit into any of my cold weather clothes. I am not in the mood to shop these days.

Usually, when I see that little up-tick, I clean up my dietary act and try to move more. I've been doing regular exercises for over a week now, and watching my eating, too. And the scale hasn't budged.

That's just weird, I think. What's up with that? I'm not sitting down with the box of chocolate chip cookies, or eating an entire (large) bag of tortilla chips for lunch. A few -- two or three, not a handful -- dried apricots shouldn't translate into an inch around the hips.

I think I know what's happening, even though it took me a while to figure it out. Friday, the hospital called and we did my pre-surgery interview. The nurse reminded me that I have to discontinue any NSAIDS. I have been taking 4 Aleve a day for about a month now; I have been trying to get a handle on my various chronic pains, and it helps a lot. Plus, with my TMD and related headaches, painkillers have been pretty much mandatory.

So now I'm off the Aleve for the third day, and my head is killing me but everything else is really doing OK, considering. And for some reason, I remember what happened the last time I took Aleve, and why I stopped taking it.

It made me hungry all the time. I don't know whether there's any research on the effect that certain NSAIDs have on the metabolism of people with insulin resistance, but I do know that my Mom said her blood sugar (she has Type II diabetes) went all crazy when she took Aleve.

Of course this doesn't matter for the moment, since I can't take it until after the procedure on Tuesday anyway. But then I'll have to decide: pudgy, or pain-free? By Tuesday, I'll have more data to consider. By then I may even have dropped a couple of these extra pounds. (For the record, I'm aiming for around 132-135; 125 is too skinny.)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Project Runway, finale

I blame Ann Althouse for getting me hooked on Project Runway, Bravo's popular reality show which features fashion designers sketching, sewing, and frantically trying to put their "look" up on the runway on time, and without boring the judges.

It's a tall order.

This season has been replete with melodrama, and I think, like many PR fans, I was more relieved than anything that last night's finale would be the end of it.

The problem with this season of PR is that it took way too long to get to this point. The designers showed at Olympus Fashion Week ages ago, and photos of all the collections have been circulating on the web for just as long.

In the meantime, PR producers have been leaking snippets of gossip, and the last few episodes featured a rather lame melodrama: would Jeffrey be disqualified? Oh, please.

Jeffrey's on-screen rehabilitation took only a couple of episodes. We got to hear his recovery story again, and we got to meet his charming little boy and fierce (in a great way) girlfriend. The editors have been much, much kinder to him, and so you knew what was coming:

Jeffrey won.

He won for being "innovative" and "fresh" and having a signature look that wasn't boring (Laura, Uli), old (Laura), or trashy (Michael)-- as the judges say, "the taste was questionable." I wish they'd come right out and say "tacky" some time.

If you think that skinny jeans with fake holes with top-stitched patches are innovative, more power to you. Like Jeffrey's winning jet-setter outfit:

they are reminiscent of what the Rolling Stones have been wearing since the early 80s:

But someone must actually like them, because Jeffrey's Cosa Nostra line was doing very well even before he debuted on PR.

As for the rest of the collection, Jeffrey's blue dresses were both total misses: hideous. The long, flowing gown was like Uli-gone-wrong, and made me appreciate what she does all the more.
Jeffrey: wrong

Uli: right

And the short blue dress was Laura-gone-wrong! I thought that was pretty funny.
Jeffrey: wrong, again

Laura: proving short and straight doesn't have to mean "boxy and unattractive"

Even the judges agreed that both of these Jeffrey designs were disasterous.

I question Jeffrey's appreciation of the female body, when he puts up a dress like this one:

The model looks like a lollipop, and the dress is so short that anyone walking by at a brisk pace could easily rustle up enough breeze to show off her nethers to the world. But Jeffrey's taste is not "questionable," according to the judges. At least Michael Knight knows how to do a booty dress while keeping the most important bits covered.

While Jeffrey gets the $100K, the Saturn roadster (sweet!), and all the hoo-ha, it's not as if Michael, Laura, and Uli lost. They all have futures in fashion if they want them. I'm glad they all got to show.

Let me address a final note to parents, or parents-to-be, everywhere: do not tattoo the name of your first-born around your neck, unless you are 100% sure you will never have another child. If little Harrison Detroit ever has siblings, they are already doomed to an inferior status, since his dad doesn't have any more neck real estate to devote to them. And Jeffrey can't go and get his scrolling tattoo lasered off, either, because how would that make little Harrison feel? So, parents, at least learn this lesson from Jeffrey Sebelia, and eschew the prominent tattoo.

Many thanks to the stellar staff of Blogging Project Runway, who have fed my addiction in the nicest possible way throughout this season. They are a shining example of the quality that the citizen-journalists of the web can produce. Kudos!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


The photo in this post is one of my all-time favorites.

Here are some others.

Most of these are poor quality scans of prints, but I love them anyway. They were all taken before the current era of medical nightmares began.

Friday Night Lights

"Wind Sprints"

I missed saying anything last week because, frankly, I'm barely holding it together here. I'm pretty sure it's OK to self-medicate with a glass of wine with dinner, though, so I'm feeling better at the moment.

Take away line: I'm still in love with this show.

The Big Question: have they sustained the glorious momentum of the pilot episode?

Honestly, no, but that was inherent in the structure of the pilot episode. Jason Street, the Moses who would lead the Panthers to the Promised Land of the State Championship, suffered a fatal injury to his football career. That was the essentially the end of the pilot, and the beginning of the series.

Last week's episode focussed on how the team was coping with the loss of Street, particularly sophomore quarterback Matt Saracen, he of the narrow shoulders and even narrower hips and jawline. At the end of last week's episode, they were poised to take the field for their first game since losing Jason, their second game of the season.

So tonight's episode opens with the game, which heart-breakingly echoed last night's pitiful defeat of the Arizona Cardinals by the still-undefeated Chicago Bears. In a cruel example of art imitating reality, the young quarterback's successful execution of nearly every play doesn't stop the rest of the team from making mistakes that ultimately lead to their defeat.

And in the fictional town of Dillon, TX, the Panthers are not supposed to lose. Of course things get ugly -- but not too ugly, yet -- but they get ugly in interesting ways.

Various team members act up and act out. Saracen shows his stuff in practice again and again -- the kid can put up a beautiful spiral, I'll tell you what. Things really start falling apart until Smash, the star running back, makes the mistake of dissing Coach Taylor on local television, which leads to a late-night practice consisting of running wind sprints, in the pouring rain, across a wash filled with calf-deep water, up and down a hill. If you've seen (the best hockey movie ever) Miracle, you cannot escape recognizing this as the "Again!" scene.

Does it work? By the end of the drill, the team appears to be back on the same page, but since we haven't seen the game yet, we don't know whether "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose," is a statement of fact or a just-out-of-reach dream.

But the wind sprints were only a tiny part of the episode; it amazes me how much gets packed into these things. The brief, nasty confrontation between Taylor and a townie when he takes his daughter out for a burger after the loss; a teacher (I think) at the school telling Tami, Coach Taylor's wife and the new school guidance counselor, that the last counselor committed suicide; Lyla's near-delusional faith that Jason can recover, and the concern this causes her parents and the fury it ignites in Jason himself -- these scenes all slip by in seconds, but every one of them adds to the mosaic of impressions that leads to a fantastically complex, compelling picture of a town that is struggling to cope with something that "just happened."

One thing I love is the dynamic between the Coach and Tami. Tami is a counselor; Coach is a coach, and she just doesn't get that. Throughout this episode Tami tosses ideas at Coach: be compassionate, let it go. What I loved is that Coach doesn't take her advice: it would be disasterous for him to let Smash dis him and get away with it. But he does listen to her, because he makes a point of pulling aside Riggins, who has been circling the drain since Street was injured, and forgiving the boy and making sure that he forgives himself. That scene doesn't end with a hug, though: Riggins owes him a practice, and he makes him walk home... at 3AM. "Call it even," he says, leaving Riggins standing there, open-mouthed.

I won't get into the whole Lyla-Jason thing, but I will comment briefly on the Lyla-Riggins thing. In an episode otherwise full of pitch-perfect notes, I'm going to withold judgement on just how unbelievable that was until we find out whether or not she slept with him. I would consider that a betrayal of her character. Someone with that much faith and love doesn't jump into bed with someone else just because her injured boyfriend has a bad night. So, we'll see.

The pace of the last two episodes is not quite as frantic as the pilot's, but that's a good thing. There's a sense of having space to breathe, except in the scenes where we're meant to be breathless (the early game scenes, for example.) The camera work, the quick cuts, the music are all coming together for me as seamlessly beautiful or tragic as they did in the pilot; the acting is outstanding.

Where does it go from here? The introduction of a Katrina refugee quarterback throws an unexpected element into the mix. We close with a scene of Taylor shaking his hand and Saracen wondering what the heck is going to happen to him, now. Taylor is already on record as saying that a starting position has to be earned, so we'll see next week how Katrina boy does on the field during practice. The rest of team looked at him, thinking, WTF? He didn't do no wind sprints in the pouring rain with us, who does he think he is?

But if he can win games for them, you know they'll love him as if he was Dillon born and bred.

Monday, October 16, 2006

kid and kitten

Today, originally scheduled for nothing, turned into a doctor-ish sort of day.

Cooper, our orange tabby boy kitten, got whacked in the face or something yesterday, and his right eyelid swelled up. It was hard to tell if his eye was scratched or just the area around it, but obviously something -- most likely one of Alice's claws -- had damaged something around there.

Since yesterday was Sunday, though, we just kept an eye on it until today. The difference between an emergency vet visit and a regular vet visit is substantial, and today's visit plus meds still cost over $100. Now he's on antibiotics and getting a steroid ointment in his eye twice a day. Fortunately, the problem is in the conjunctiva, the pink tissue around the eye, not with the eye itself. So he'll be OK.

I knew today would be a vet day, but I wasn't expecting to have to go to the pediatrician's, too. DD woke up with a very sore throat and just feeling miserable. DH thought it might be strep, but I didn't; strep doesn't usually give you a brutal cough like hers. I listened to her lungs and heard squeaking, and that was enough for me to make the call to the doctor.

She has mild, intermittent asthma -- yikes! Once three or four years ago she had a problem like this, but this is the first time since then. She had a breathing treatment in the office and felt immediately better, although the doctor still heard some squeaks. She'll be on the nebulizer every four (waking) hours for the next few days, and also on a short course of steroids. We're all hoping that this was just triggered by the cold she had, and that she won't need daily medicine.

I was worried that it might have something to do with the kittens, but the doctor said the symptoms would have shown up much sooner if that were the case. We'll just have to keep a close eye on her and make sure she's not having chronic problems. There's no reason to think she will, but she is already resistant to the idea of having daily meds and/or also having to change some of the way she lives her life.

She's such a healthy girl now I don't often think of how tiny she was when she was born, and those days when I wondered if she would make it or not because eating seemed like too much bother to her. But today put me in mind of that time, because when she couldn't get enough air she didn't want to eat or drink or even move. I carried her out to the car, hearing the echo of those days.

It's my job to be calm and reassuring, though, so I couldn't let any of those old fears surface. In the process of comforting DD, I consoled myself as well. She'll be fine, even if asthma is a new worry lurking in the shadows. At least we know it's there now, and can deal with it as need be.

strangely familiar

Today's Bleat pretty much sums up my weekend:
Well, that was an odd weekend. Stayed up too late, woke too early, had every attempt at a nap punctured by a domestic fracas, ate leftovers for every meal, and finished nothing I began. No more of those, please.
Of course it's not entirely accurate, but close.

I spent the entire weekend (pretty much) in yoga pants, which do nothing so well as telegraph I give up.

This week will be interesting/torture: the kids are on school break. I'm looking forward to the significant freedom in the schedule, but I'm also wondering how I will pry the children away from their various video-boxes to do something else. I of course haven't even figured out what "something else" is, yet.

I wish I could've scheduled the lumpectomy sooner. It is weighing on me and I can't seem to wiggle out from under the gloom of potential chemo. I just want to get it over with.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

the persistence of pain

These past few days I've been working on behavior modification.

I hate, hate, hate the splint. After wearing it for the first time night before last, I woke up with a crashing headache, my mouth glued shut, and my jaw hurting even more than before. By some miracle, though, all of that has literally faded away and today I had hardly a twinge in my jaw, although I did have an early headache. So the early trend is that it's actually working, which is not surprising, I expected it to work. I just didn't expect it to work so quickly.

One reason I am probably feeling much better is because of the aforementioned behavior modification. I used to put my chin in my hand alot. Really, a lot. If I was sitting reading, I'd put the book on the table and lean my head into my hands, of course by the chin. The doctor did not tell me this was a bad idea, but the literature that came with the splint did. (I'm so glad I actually read it!)

It is very hard to break this kind of a habit. I get tired, I want to rest my head, but having my hand up by my temples just isn't that comfortable. I'm just going to give up the head-resting altogether, I suppose. That's OK, giving up excruciating TMD at the same time is a fair trade. It turns out that shoving your lower jaw back into the jaw joints is not a good idea, you know?

More behavior modification: I have sworn off gum. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but I'm very dependent on it because of my damaged salivary glands. A lot of times my saliva production is deficient and my mouth tastes horrible as a result, or sometimes I've got plenty of saliva but it's salty-tasting. When either of these situations comes up, I would pop a piece of gum to get the saliva flowing and get the horrid taste out of my mouth. Now I'll have to rely on either mints or Altoids sours to manage these problems, at least until the greater issue is resolved.

Last but not least, I'm getting back to my physical therapy exercises for my neck, shoulders, hip, and tailbone. I am not put together very well, and I have finally come to accept the fact that the only thing that is going to help me feel better is regular exercise, not the random activity I usually engage in.

I have also decided to take more active steps to squelch pain as much as possible, for a couple of reasons. First, when I'm in pain, my shoulders tense up, which screws up my neck, which gives me that spike-through-the-eye headache. Yuck. Second, if a nerve is irritated long enough, it will forget how to shut itself off. I think that's what's going on with my piriformis and my tailbone. The piriformis stretches out just fine, there's no reason for it to feel as horrid as it does. I think the nerves down there have been registering pain for so long they don't know how to register anything else. So I'm attacking this two ways, with Aleve to tackle inflammation, and with BioFreeze gel as a topical I can rub in whenever I get a twinge that needs calming.

So far I'm not seeing the drastic improvement in the hip/tailbone stuff that I've already seen with the jaw, but I'm hoping it will come with time. It's amazing how long I have put up with this because I didn't feel like dealing with it. Yes, these pains so far have been ignorable, but that doesn't mean they will always be if I just let it go. I believe I've got to chase these pains away, or they will haunt me forever, and I have enough to keep me busy without having to cart these particular, resolvable pains around with me for the rest of my life.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

got nothin'

The biopsy was non-diagnostic. In other words, there wasn't enough material in the sample for the cytologist to make any kind of a determination.

Basically, I know as much as I did before the biopsy, which is to say, nothing. The definitive answer will come after the lumpectomy on the 24th.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I still haven't heard the results from the breast-lump biopsy. At this point, I'm actively avoiding thinking about it.

I spent almost 2 hours this morning being fitted for my new appliance, a splint. It looks like a clear plastic retainer with a flange at the front. The effect of this thing is to force my lower jaw forward. It's bizarre, and very tight, and not easy to put in without pinching the insides of my cheeks. I felt sympathy for the technician who worked for at least an hour customizing the fit, but she was good-natured about it. I suppose she has to be, it's her job.

So I wear the splint and my lower retainer whenever I'm sleeping. It's good that I don't have to wear it any other time because I literally can not talk with the thing in my mouth. I mean, I can, it's just very difficult because my tongue can't go anywhere because of the flange.

In addition to wearing this, I have to do DPAs - daily pain assessments. The thought of DPA depresses me (not hyperbole), because the problem is, of course, that every D there is plenty of P to A. In my experience, the act of thinking about pain makes the pain worse. This is probably not accurate; it's more likely that by thinking about pain in an attempt to assess it, what I'm doing is removing the layers of suppression that I have deployed at all times. But the net effect is the same: I hurt more, because I'm thinking about it (or allowing myself to feel it.) These DPAs will be limited to head, jaw, and ear pain, so I have some hope that we'll see a gradually improving trend.

In reality, I'm already a lot better than I was before my first appointment. The doc told me that my headaches were caused by muscle problems in my neck (and probably shoulders, too), and so I have been stretching them and doing some of my physical therapy exercises. I have had very few headaches since, and that's a blessing.

Monday, October 09, 2006

still no news

The mind reels with possibilities.

1. The biopsy results have not been returned to the surgeon's office yet. -Unlikely, since he expected them before the end of last week.

The surgeon is out of town, and his staff lady told me that he calls in every day to discuss test results and other business. Which presents these possibilities:

2. The surgeon didn't call in today. - No way.

3. The staff lady didn't get a chance to discuss my results with the surgeon, either because he was pressed for time or because they came in after he called. - Possible, but not likely.

The nice staff lady told me that she specifically cannot release test results unless the doctor explicitly gives her permission to do so. In other words, if there's some discussion that needs to take place, the doctor is going to make the call himself. That presents:

4. They discussed my results but she forgot to ask about calling me to so I could get them asap. - No way. She razzed me about freaking out, and then assured me she would do what she could so I could settle down all the anxious family.

5. They discussed my results and the doctor wants to talk them over with me himself, which means I have to wait for him to get back. - A definite possibility.

Of course, #5 means bad news.

Unfortunately I have no idea when the doctor is getting back. All I can do is wait. (But in an effort not to drive myself crazy thinking about this today, I did a ton of errands all day and then cooked all evening. I'm doing OK.)

A thought flashed just now, Won't I feel silly if/when I get a call telling me that the biopsy was negative? No, I won't. This is something that could go either way. The recommendation on the mammogram/ultrasound report was "BI-RADS: 4 - suspicious abnormality - biopsy should be considered." That doesn't sound too bad, until you look at the recommendation hierarchy, and see that the only thing worse is BI-RADS 5. A 4 indicates "a finding has a definite probability of being malignant," whereas 5 is used when "a finding has a high probability of being cancerous." What's the difference between "definite" and "high"?

Big enough; "definite" gives me a lot more room for hope.

Friday, October 06, 2006

no news

So I called my surgeon's office today to find out if they would be open on Monday. What with it being Columbus Day and all, I'm never sure when doctors in private practice decide to take a day off.

The staffwoman I spoke to told me that the office would be open on Monday but that the doctor is out of town. I told her I was just wondering if there was a chance I could get the biopsy results on Monday.

You're not freaking out on me, are you? she asked.

I almost laughed. Well, yeah, I thought, it's kinda hard not to freak out with the specter of another cancer hanging over my head, but I'm doing OK all things considered... but I didn't say any of that.

I just told her that I have family calling me for news.

She promised to speak to the doctor when the results come in and get back to me asap. So Monday will be the earliest I'll hear, and it may even be later.

The only real news today is that my surgery is scheduled for 7:30AM so I have to arrive at the surgical center at 6AM which is damn early.

The rest of the day was really busy. I need a vacation. Lucky for me, only one more week of school and then the kids have fall break, but I have no idea what we're going to do that week. I'm too fried to think about it.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Lost, 3.1

It is a tale
Told by an idiot
full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

-- Macbeth

So, there's Jack, and he's just wrecked, and there's his pretty jailer with the big fat folder, telling him that his ex-wife is happy.

Here's my question: why would Jack, or anyone, ever believe anything an Other says to them?

Also, the implication that it was Jack's fault that his father started drinking again, that Jack's downward spiral and attack on Christian led to him picking up the bottle again -- sorry, not buying it, and I can't believe Jack would, either. If Christian wasn't talking to Sarah, why not show Jack the cellphone and prove it? It makes much more sense that he would hit the bottle out of guilt if he was banging his son's wife, and how exactly would that be Jack's fault? Anyway: ick.

Show makes me crazy. Next week, we'll get to see more characters, including the ones that actually have brains and use them, like Sayid and Sun. I'm not sure how much more of this idiocy I can take. The writers are treating the audience the way the Others treat the Losties. I can enjoy good psych drama and mysteries when they're fictional, but I've always detested headgames in real life. We're only one episode in and I'm already tired of being jerked around.

The quote, "sound and fury, signifying nothing"? That was last night's episode. It was well-paced, beautifully shot, had nicely balanced tensions, the unsettling random explosions of violence, some very nice performances from Matthew Fox, and Evangeline Lily actually acted in a scene or two, which was a nice surprise. Overall, you could say it was good, but I won't, because all it did was dump a whole new set of questions on us without ever answering any of the old ones.

the person I want to be

Before I had kids, I wanted to be the kind of mother who never got angry or yelled or lost it in any way. I wanted to be the infinitely patient, caring mom who answered all the questions and dealt with everything fairly and never spoke to her children in a horrid, tight voice.

I didn't know if I could be that kind of person, but I did know that back then, I wasn't.

What I found, when the babies came along and grew and grew and grew, is that I am not that person, but that's OK. I realized that no one can be that person. Everyone makes mistakes, especially during 24/7 kid duty, but as long we own up to it, there's no harm done.

Lately I've noticed that I may not be infinitely patient, but I do answer all the questions, even when I don't want to. I recently fielded an intense discussion on whether or not silicone could really be a basis for life (thank you, classic Star Trek), which led to a discussion of the periodic table of elements with a 9-year-old. And later, I had to talk about why there are oil rigs out in the ocean and how did that oil get there, anyway? One kid learned about grafting for plant propagation in school so we looked up fruit salad trees on the web. I am a walking dictionary/encyclopedia, and I love it.

I am a caring mom, too, even though I yell at my kids from time to time. Stuff happens, we have to deal with it, sometimes at loud volumes. I very clearly wanted to be the kind of mother who talked to her kids with respect and kindness, and for the most part, I am. I don't nag, thanks to countless tutorials in parenting books and mags. I say things like, "I see shoes in the middle of the floor," or sometimes, just "shoes!" which inspires the kid to put the shoes away without me having to screech. In fact, I pretty much avoid screeching at all times, these days. Tone of voice is nearly everything, and through long practice, I've mastered the ability to say just about anything to my kids in the tone that I want. There's nothing worse than slamming a kid with a nasty-sounding question just because I'm tired; that's so not fair. So I don't do it. Did you finish your homework? can be a pleasant, give-me-a-status-report request, or it can be an accusation you throw at your kids to beat them down. It's your choice, and I've made mine.

If you ask me, that's a miracle, since I used to be a shrew. Is it my husband's good influence? the kids? my own desperate need to change? the cumulative impact of all the medical stuff? eight+ years of practice? I don't know, I'm just happy about it. I'm glad I can look at a situation that 10 years ago would've made me freak out and come up with Well, that wasn't what I expected, before moving right along to fixing whatever it is that needs fixing. Someone has to make things work, and as Dr. Seuss would say, Someone is me. (If not me, who? What, I'm going to wait for DH to get home from work to deal with every petty crisis? No way.)

I was talking to my middle sister the other day about all these health issues I've endured, and it occurred to me then that, even though they can be really annoying, not one of them has changed the way I live my life in any meaningful way. I do what I want to do, and having thyroid cancer or rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia or TMD or atypical moles or sciatica or whatever (because that's not even the whole list, you don't want to know) -- having these things does not prevent me from doing a single thing that I want to do.

Daily meds

Sure, sure, I have to take meds, I have to wear appliances to bed at night so I don't grind my teeth, I have to juggle many different doctors and pay attention to a lot of different things about my body that most people never even think about. But that's not my life, and I don't let all those things dictate my life, over the long term. There are shorter terms, like now, when I'm waiting on a diagnosis, and often these represent lulls where I feel like I can't do anything, but in this particular lull I can't stall out because I have commitments and I'm going to keep them -- there is no reason why I shouldn't.

I can do things like take my kids to the beach for the whole summer, and manage that just fine. I can walk around Disneyland for 3 days straight bracketed by two long days of driving. I can read to a handful of kids in a noisy school room, or entertain 20 toddlers and their parents in a bookstore. I can cook and shop and clean and write.

My mom said to me, about the lump, and worrying about the lump while having to wait for test results, and all that: There's no point, because there's not a damn thing you can do about it. Of course she's right. But it also occurred to me that even if this is cancer (I'm thinking it's about a 50-50 chance), it's not going to kill me. Some things will be more difficult for a while, but I'll get through it, and I'll go back to doing what I want to do. Somehow that certainty -- this isn't going to kill me -- expanded into the realization that none of my conditions is likely to kill me -- heck, they're not even getting in my way. (Yes, there were times when they did, but right now? They're not.)

Finally, at 43, I am (mostly) the person I want to be. There is a not-small number of things I still need to work on, of course. That's OK, there's time.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


The surgeon's office called today; we're on for the lumpectomy on the 24th. I have to be way the heck up in Phoenix at oh-dark-thirty (not really, but close), so I called one of my girlfriends to see if she could drive me up. She said yes, of course, after getting over the initial shock of the news.

Telling people about this is getting harder and harder. I've just had too much stuff happen to me. At a certain point, it approaches embarassing, and I'm just about there.

I've told two of the three teachers that need to know just in case the kids get freaked out a bit, although I'm hopeful that they won't. Horrifically, they are used to Mom going for procedures and stuff, so this shouldn't be a big deal to them. At least I'm trying to keep it low key.

I've found the best way to get the news out -- because there is no good way to say it -- is to answer the usual social-noise "How are you?" with a "Not so good," or maybe just "Eh." That opens the door to the actual news, which is the pending lumpectomy.

And whenever I tell anyone, they are always uniformly sweet and kind and supportive, and that always makes me want to cry.

I wish I could just sleep until it's time to go, and sleep until I'm healed. Then I could wake up feeling terrific and ready to get on with life. But there's no sense in arguing with Reality, so I won't.

(Will the biopsy report come tomorrow? I don't even know if I want to know. It's benign, it's benign, it's benign...please?)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

being sick is expensive

Yesterday I laughed about getting a bill from MDA for $29 and change. It was only that low because nearly everything was "pending insurance."

Today, I got another "statement of benefits" from BCBS, which gives me a head's up on what they're paying and what I'll owe. Needless to say, the new total for MDA will be well into 4 figures.

DH ran a report (we use Quicken, love it) to tally up the nearly unfathomable amount on medical expenses this year. Between my stuff and the two boys' tonsillectomies and all the other incidentals, the word "hemorrhage" comes to mind. Now I've got the lumpectomy coming up and that will be close to a 4-figure bill. And Christmas is coming, too. (Confession: I have already started my shopping.)

We're fortunate we've got the money. It's nothing to do with luck, really: we live well within our means, so we have the money. I don't need to worry about money, and that's good. But it upsets me that we've had to spend so much on so many different illnesses and conditions, and now we're going to have spend even more.

Can I catch a break, please? In the meantime: eating at home (except for Friday lunch dates with DH) has become my daily challenge. No matter how wretched I feel, I come up with something for dinner so we don't have to get the much-more-expensive takeout. It's one small area of our lives where I can have a direct impact on the budget. Even though it's tiny, it lets me think At least I'm doing something to control our spending!

Friday Night Lights

I can't recall the last time a series had this much hype in front of it that didn't have anything to do with solving mysteries (medical, crime-related, or otherwise) or running from toasters-turned-sexpots.

So, expectations set to "failed to live up to the pre-release press," I fired up the TiVO this evening after putting the kids to bed and brushing the cats. And then I sat riveted for the next 42-odd minutes.

Damn, this was a fantastic episode. Yes, yes, the ending was rushed, but not to the point where you couldn't follow what was happening. By the time the Panthers won, I was completely sucked in, enjoying the fact that I wasn't sure if they would win, and even remarking to DH that I actually wanted them to win. In the space of less than 40 minutes, Friday Night Lights got me to care about its humongous cast and the town that seems to rely on football for hope and joy and all that is good in life.

I can well imagine some people will not like the style of this show, with its swirling, dipping camera work, and its quick cuts and fragmented dialog, but I loved it. It felt like a documentary, only with much better music. The emotions we saw were genuine, but best of all, the town was presented without editorial comment: we report, you decide, applied to a prime-time drama. Who would have thought it possible? Certainly not me.

Clearly, the writers not only understand but respect their characters, or at least they did here. There wasn't a hint of cynicism or snark in either the dialog or the direction. When the quarterback said, "Let's pray," it was clearly the most natural thing in the world to him, no matter how alien we may imagine that concept would be to the kind of people who typically write, produce, and star in television shows.

The question remains whether they can sustain this level of brutal narrative honesty and the twirling dance through all the many relationships without breaking down into parody or chaos. The task is to continue to reveal these characters and deepen their relationships without losing the respect that has already been established, and without betraying the characters as they have already been defined, even by the briefest scenes in this pilot.

I tuned in partly because of Kyle Chandler, and partly because of the good reviews. As of now, I'm in, and hoping they can sustain the level of brilliance we saw tonight. Because this show is a rarity -- perhaps becoming less so in this new era of well-made television, but still something worth noting: not only does it respect its characters, it respects its audience, too.

(If you missed it, you can watch the entire episode over at NBC.com; click on the link above.)

October's column

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies are featured in this month's edition of the Low Carb Luxury online magazine.

Even the kids liked these cookies, and liked them enough to ask me to make them again -- which doesn't happen often with my picky crew.

I've been wanting to make carrot cake lately -- especially since finding out that a cup of grated carrots has only 8 grams of carbohydrates, net of fiber. That's a bargain in my book. Also, any excuse for cream cheese frosting should be welcomed at all times.

Now if only I could work up the oomph to get into the kitchen and make it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

42 cookies later

(They were small cookies.) (Plus, that's just an estimate. It could've been less. Or more.)

I saw the surgeon today. He specializes in breast surgery so he did his own ultrasound and I got a better look at the lump consequently. It's 2cm+, which is close to an inch.

I went through the whole history with him, and he agrees it should come out. But even though we're taking it out, he did a needle biopsy anyway, using the ultrasound for guidance. It took about 5 seconds all told, which, given my past biopsy experiences, qualifies as miraculous, even though I am still a little sore.

Cytology (aka pathology) report should be back by the end of the week, he said. I don't believe it for a minute -- I believe he believes it, but I've never had a path report come back so quickly.

Surgery will be outpatient, and the whole thing, from admission to release, will take about four hours, sometime the week of October 23.

I called my mom to give her the update and we reviewed the cancer history in her family. Four of her sisters had breast cancer, and one had ovarian cancer. She herself didn't have cancer, but did have a precancerous mass removed which led to her getting her masectomy. It was one of those "given your history" decisions, much like the one I've made here.

The rest of the day is blur of children - homework - RE - dinner - homework - bedtime. I spent the last hour watching the pilot of Six Feet Under, which I had never seen before, on Bravo. Everyone seems almost normal in this episode, just wrecked because of Nate Sr's death. It's very cool to see the beginning already knowing the end.

Oh, yes: the cookies. They seemed to go well with 6FU and a cup of tea. Now this; bed soon, and more days and weeks of that dreadful treading water feeling, just trying to keep afloat here in the flow of life. I just want to get this particular medical episode defined: short term (lumpectomy, done), or longer term (lumpectomy, cancer, chemo-radiation-what?). It's not going to kill me, either way. It's the not-knowing that gets old very quickly.

Laugh of the day: got a bill from MDA for $29 and change. I'm sure there's another one coming, but it was sort of hilarious to get such a tiny bill for all the stuff they did to me last time I was there.

fits and starts

That about sums it up, lately. I'm better than I was when I wrote that last post, but it comes and goes. On at least two occasions I have actually burst into tears but at least they're not the kind that I can't stop. (I hate that.)

I know I'm better because I cleaned the house today, things I had put off for way too long, that I am actually embarassed to admit how long they had been left undone. But now they're done and not weighing me down further, so that's good.

Friday typified the see-saw my life resembles lately. I had arranged to pick up my films (for my Monday morning appointment with the surgeon) at a local office. I called to confirm they had been sent; the local office didn't have them. I called the central office, and she swore they had been sent, but to the mammography center, which is a different office. That's OK.

I spent the afternoon over at school, and when we left, we headed over to the mammography center to pick up the films, but they were closed. Who closes at 3:00pm? OK, who that is not a bank? Please. Why did I not know they closed early? Fortunately they open at the crack of dawn so I can run over there early tomorrow and get the films, if they haven't sent them back because I failed to pick them up on Friday. (As you can see, I have a vivid imagination regarding potential screw ups.)

The whole day was like that: near-misses, things I forgot, things I should have known, things not being where they were supposed to be. But on the very same day I had a nice lunch with DH (I finally told him about the near-depression thing), and a nice outing with the kids to Borders, and the book I had ordered came in... for every thing that irked or irritated there was some upside. Nothing like getting jerked around all day... I didn't get anything done.

DS1 complained of headache Friday afternoon and by the evening was running a fever. That was the downside, the upside was discovering my pediatrician's office has Saturday and evening hours that I never knew about, so we were able to get the boy in on Saturday morning and onto an antibiotic (sinus infection, poor guy.) That was Saturday.

Today was a blur that started with making a big breakfast and then taking the boys for much-needed haircuts,and then later taking DD to buy shoes, which was a disaster. She hates everything, and wants pink shoes! Our problems are made worse by her very narrow feet; there are many styles which she literally cannot wear. I think the experience with her ("Never again," I vowed, "next time you're going shopping with Daddy.") gave me some energy because when DH took all three of them to buy cleats for soccer, I did not, for once, laze around doing nothing: I cleaned the house and started the laundry and all that.

And now I'm waiting for the last of the laundry to be out of the dryer, which is acting up again, but still works well for the most part. I'm happy for that. The past few months' medical expenses would've paid for a new washer and dryer -- it's a very good thing we don't need them.