Monday, April 28, 2014

retirement, of a sort

This evening was my last RE class, possibly ever, certainly this academic year.  DD came along to help, and one student's mom stayed too, so tonight's class was easier than most have been, this year. 

I've done enough of these end-of-the-year-pizza-party classes to know exactly how to handle it, so there weren't any problems, and now I'm done. 

That looks very low key, that one word, "done", when in reality, I'm doing the Snoopy happy dance in my head and mentally rejoicing that it's over.  Then I feel a twinge or two of guilt that I should be so delighted (the most apt word) to be finished, then I swing back towards letting myself enjoy it. 

Funny thing is, we finished everything I wanted to do this year, even though I scaled back my expectations substantially.  Some of the work requirements for the students were revised this year by the RE department, and that made things easier for me, sure.  Earlier I had a sense of futility, that none of the students were learning anything, but today I realized that we did cover what I had said we would, and most of them actually had fun doing it.

Next year, I expect to be in grad school, and won't have my own class.  I did toss out the idea of being on call to substitute, so I won't be out of the system entirely.  But dropping in for an hour or two here or there is a lot different from being responsible for a class's formation.  

Yesterday I filed my last set of lesson plans for this school year and finished up my grading.  The next assessment I'll have to grade is my students' final exams.  After struggling to keep afloat since August, I'm ecstatic that I can actually relax after school for these next few weeks.   It's nice to finally have some breathing room.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

it's all about the texture

Had a meeting this evening at school, then piano lessons, so finally home at 8:30PM and starving, since my protein style In-n-Out burger was consumed at about 5:15PM.  The kids had bought themselves some frozen yogurt which put me in the mood for something frozen, but not dairy.  Today was a little better on the arthritis front, but my rings still wouldn't go on, so I have to stick to clean eating.

So:  1 frozen banana (peeled), 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, and a good shot of chocolate syrup in the  small food processor yielded the most awesome chocolate peanut butter banana "ice cream" ever.  Tasted awesome, perfect mouth feel, like very rich soft serve or frozen custard. 

Have to remember to keep a supply of frozen bananas on hand, now.  I wonder if I make a bigger batch and freeze it, will it maintain that delightful texture?  That might be dangerous.  If I have more around, I'll end up eating more, and even though there's nothing inherently bad there (OK, there's some sugar in the chocolate syrup, but I didn't use that much), I still can't go eating hundreds of calories of frosty treats every night without there being consequences.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Only 3 more weeks of school after this one.  I have literally no new lessons to plan -- just review sessions next week, then finals, then it's the last week of school when we'll just do fun things.  Tonight, with all my lessons prepped through the week and all my grades up-to-date, I realized I didn't actually have to do anything school-related, and it was a nice surprise.

It's odd how something you already know can be a surprise, but it was, nevertheless.  I'm so used to plopping down on the couch with my laptop and putting in at least an hour or two (if not 3 or 4) hours of work, just to keep up and make sure my weekends had some free time.  That's not going to be a problem for the foreseeable future.

Eating has been exceptionally good in one way and bad in another, lately.  The weekend before last, DH and I had a lovely dinner al fresco at Postino, consisting entirely of a bottle of good zinfandel and various bruschettas and meats and cheeses and other things to nibble on.  Plus, really good coffee to finish.  It was all so delicious, I wanted to re-create it at home, and have, twice, brought home really good bread and sliced it up and had bruschetta for dinner again, out on our patio.  Delightful.  Except after Easter's eating many things I know I shouldn't, I'm paying for it.

Yesterday my wedding rings sliced open my finger, so I can't wear them on my left hand anymore until it heals.  (Too much cleaning and cooking, and washing dishes, without wearing gloves, which I hate...)  This morning I couldn't even get the rings on my right hand, so I wore them on a chain instead.  If swollen hands were the worst of it, it wouldn't be so bad, but the swelling has companions that are more painful, like creaky joints and aching muscles and overall fatigue even though I've been getting decent sleep.

Here's hoping a few days of clean eating will tamp down this flare.  I hate being reminded I have arthritis. I can cheat for a day, or maybe 2, but I can't ever be the person who eats wheat and dairy every day without major consequences.

Segue... I also hate being reminded that I have cancer, but that didn't stop me from signing up for a research study involving patients with metastatic thyroid cancer.  My "homework assignment" was to create a timeline of significant events and describe how I felt at each step, which was excruciating.  I felt like I had to unpack everything that had ever happened and try to make a coherent story out of it.  By this point, it seems both interminably boring and utterly weird to me.  The actual study was an hour interview (well, we went 90 minutes) about my experience.  It was easy for me to talk about it because I have a lot of practice at it.  I hope it's helpful.

In a way, it's good that I don't have much after school work these days, because we have many, many after school and evening events scheduled.  It's a bit crazy, but good.  I was a bit wound up (actually, depressed) by the work I had to for the research study, but now that it's over, and I had a massively productive Easter weekend, I am better. 

I know what caused that little tail-spin, and I'm glad I was able to get out of it once the study was finished.  I have been so anxious about this latest recurrence that I think it helped to wade deeply into the thyroid cancer swamp and live there for a while.  Now I can wade out again, thinking, that has nothing to do with me right now.   I'll go for my whole body scan in October, and we'll see what's up.

A couple of things to mention here, just to have some way to keep track of them.  I had a random nosebleed on April 8, and ever since then, I've felt that sinus passage is congested or partially blocked.  I've done sinus rinses but they don't make a difference.  I'm thinking I should probably get that looked at, if it doesn't resolve soon.  Also, I'm having my usual ovarian cyst symptoms, and have been for at least a month now, but I'm so irritated by the process -- go to the gyn, get a referral, get an ultrasound, wait a week, get the results, by which time my symptoms have been resolved for 3 weeks -- grrrr.  So I'll just wait it out, even though I feel bloated and have several other classic symptoms of ovarian cancer.  I don't have the time or energy to pursue it now, so if it's still bothering me in 3 weeks when school is out, then I'll make some calls.

Other than that?  My biggest problem is that my laptop usually doesn't connect to the internet when I wake it up, which fades to such insignificance that it is not a problem at all.

Friday, April 04, 2014

negotiated settlement

So after all this time, the nurse-manager of my endo's office finally called.  The MRI was denied, of course. I imagine the doctor throwing up her hands in frustrations (she's wonderfully expressive). The insurance company would approve a whole body scan now, but not Thyrogen, so I'd have to withdraw from my thyroid meds for 6 weeks or so.  The last time I did that, I was post-thyroidectomy, and it took me literally months to recover.  Plus, we have summer plans made and paid for, and a low-iodine diet and a nuclear scan would seriously get in the way.

I was able to move my next scan to October, though.  That means I can do the LID and get the scan during my fall break instead of over Christmas, because having to do the low-iodine diet over the holidays is just cruel.

It was hard to think about this situation again after shelving it for so many weeks.  It was hard to decide not to go ahead with the scan, too -- what if something horrible is happening and kills me because I decided to put off the scan for 6 months?  I scoff ("die-with", not "die-of" disease, remember) but at the same time, it bothers me.

In the rest of my life, things proceed apace.  I love my job, which of course has its blips but overall is so vastly improved over my last job that comparisons fail.  Apples, oranges, etc.  The kids' spring recital is this weekend, and they're all very well-prepared so I'm actually looking forward to it.   Next week, my students have their state standardized tests, so I basically have a week of baby-sitting which will give me a change to relax.  Even though I love my job, I'm still burnt out.  It's just too much, what with the vocabulary, website updates, notes, powerpoints, labs, handouts, etc.  But then after the tests, there are 2 weeks of instruction, then review for finals, finals week, and promotion week, then summer!