Monday, May 30, 2016

shhh, don't wake the crab

Today my only accomplishments were finding the cat and completing several puzzles in the Monkey level of the highly addicting WordBrain game. Finding the cat took much, much longer.

I slept in very late, and when I finally got up, DH asked if I'd seen Alice, our deaf tortie.  Whole house search ensues.  Even more thorough whole-house search continues.  Flashlights deployed to look in the darkest corners of closets and shelves on cupboards (she has been known to sneak into an open cupboard and curl up in there.)

No luck.  DH went out to look for her in the neighborhood, and I made up flyers to post and hand out to the neighbors.  Ringing doorbells, I was very sorry to interrupt my neighbors' Memorial Day weekend, but everyone I spoke to was very friendly and kind.  A neighbor two doors down said she had seen Alice outside on Friday. Friday!  How could she have been out since then? I felt terrible to think she had been outside all this time!  It is very hot now, too.   Another neighbor two more houses over had seen her last night, when her dog saw her out front and went crazy, barking.  Of course Alice was oblivious because she is deaf!  But it was a relief knowing she was OK last night.

When I ran out of flyers, I came in to think about what to do next.  DD and I decided to take the car out to put up some flyers a little farther out in the neighborhood, so I printed some more.  An older gentleman was very reassuring, "Your cat is within 50 yards of your house.  She may be in someone's garage, but believe me, they never go far."  He told me stories of his cats that were gone for up to 12 days... living in a neighbor's garage! That was encouraging.  About three minutes after that, we turned up another street and I noticed one yard had their sprinklers on, and water was running down onto the sidewalk.  It was late afternoon, about 5PM, by this time, and most people don't water their lawns at that time around here.  I noticed the water first, but then I noticed there was something under one of the cars in the driveway.   We pulled over and I ran over to the car, and there she was, stretched out.  I panicked for a moment but then I could see she was breathing.

I called her, but of course, no response, and I couldn't reach her from the back of the car.  From the side I could just reach her hind paws, so I snagged them and pulled her towards me.  Of course this woke her up and she was very irritated to be dragged from the shade of the car, but I didn't care.  I held her very close and DD drove us the approximately 25 yards home.

DD and then spent another half-hour or so taking down all the flyers I had put up, and retrieving any that were still in neighbors' doors.  I was very thorough in plastering the neighborhood, but I've never minded using up paper and ink so little.  It was worth it to have her back.

I did some math yesterday morning, but then spent the afternoon antiquing with DD, which was lovely, except for the pain.  I've had it for so long now that I've named it the crab, because it feels like something take chunks of me, pulling and pinching.   Sometimes I feel fine, especially if I can stay off my feet, but walking around for hours yesterday and today was challenging at times. Mostly it's mid-range on a pain scale, which means if I get involved in something, I can forget about it, but then other times, I can't ignore.  I have a CAT scan scheduled for Tuesday, and I would really like to know what is going on.  For now, though, I think, go to sleep, little crab, leave me alone!

Alice needs brushing.  I'm off.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

this is vacation?


On my first day off I took a look at the study guide for the math test I was supposed to take today and realized I wasn't ready to take it, so I postponed it till next Thursday.  I spent a few hours on the diagnostics and realized I really need to review and study. I haven't had geometry in over 30 years!  That's a long time.  At the same time, I realized the study guide is just that, a guide, and it doesn't have the actual content  I need.  It took me a while but I came around to the idea of just stopping by the school and picking up some student textbook CDs, which I did yesterday.  They are installed and everything, but I haven't "mathed" much since I installed them, because:

I started the day bright and early with a dentist appointment (8am!) followed by an appointment with my endocrinologist.  All clear on the dental front, and the endo noted my weight loss and had my labs and everything's good except my T4 is a little high but she feels that it's not too bad and she's leaving my meds alone for now.  Unbelievably, we're starting the approval process for my Thyrogen trial in October already.  After that I went over to the school and picked up my stepladder which I had left behind and got the math CDs, too.  Then I had to get home to pick up DS1 for his dentist appointment -- it was too cruel to make him get up early, and there was no reason to drag him to my endo appointment. 

After I picked up the younger two kids from school (this is their last week), DS1 asked if I could him clean his room - friends are coming over later this week.  You have to understand, the entire contents of his dorm room were piled into a corner of his room in front of his closet.  Somewhere between 3 and 4 hours later, his room is quite livable.  I always say, start with throwing away the trash, which helped.  Then we went through all his drawers and his closet and made piles of things to donate and things to just throw away.  The donate pile was huge.  I introduced him to the joys of Swiffer dusters and even vacuumed.  I believe the last time his room was this clean was before his sophomore year of high school when I painted his room while he was in debate camp.  It was very satisfying work, but exhausting.

Somewhere in there, the gyn's office called back and left these results for me: "The results of your urine culture were negative.  Your PAP smear was also negative.  There were no cysts on your ovaries.  If you are still having pain, see your PCP."   This message was infuriating for so many reasons.  One, they had already told me the results of the urine culture.  Second, they did not do a PAP smear, I don't even have anything to test!  Ridiculous.  Third, fine, ok, no cysts on the ovaries, did they even bother to look to see if there was anything else that could be causing my symptoms? It was a 30-second ultrasound.  I am so done with that practice!  Fortunately, I called my PCP and I got an appointment for this morning, which explains why I haven't mathed much.

My appointment was at 9:30 but I knew the car was already loaded up with DS1's stuff-to-be-donated, so I got up early and went through my own closet, and the linen closet, and added even more stuff.  I am moderately embarrassed to admit that there were still crib sheets in my linen closet.  (DS2 is 15 years old, it has been quite a while since I had a crib in the house!) Anyway, now DS1 has plenty of room, the linen closet is in much better shape, and my closet is a bit better, too.  So I loaded up all that stuff, and then headed out.  

My doctor is, bless him, a great listener, and he was amazingly professional in not slagging on my gyn for being a slacker.  He did a thorough exam and suggested a couple of possibilities, including spinal/nerve stuff, or scar tissue.  He sent me for an x-ray of my lower spine (quick, cheap, easy) just to see if anything obvious comes up there, and is getting authorization for a CT scan.

Perversely, I would be relieved if it's nerve-related, but it really feels as if there's something in there, and I have a hard time getting away from that feeling.

Anyway, dropped off the donations, got my x-ray, picked up the kids, got them lunch, and then took DS2 and myself to the dermatologist.  His acne is back so he'll be starting up treatment, and I needed a spot check - all clear. *whew*

Back home, managed to have a great conversation with my sister about all this medical stuff, and then it was dinner and then I didn't feel like working, so I didn't.   I have a little over a week to get my act together.  I think tomorrow will be easier because I don't have any appointments in the morning so I can work while the kids are at school.  I haven't been a complete slug, though, because I'm making great progress on one of the books for my history of science class, a biography of Alexander Humboldt which is really great.

I set myself back a bit by looking over my end-of-the-year paperwork from school and figuring out that the odds of reaching 'highly effective' are very slim (at least 90% of my students would have to meet or exceed on the AIMS test, and the highest I've ever had was 85%.)  I pretty peeved about that, since it is essentially halving my (potential) bonus, and sentencing me to another year of additional administrative oversight.  I'm wondering if it's worth saying anything, since I'm only missing this because of 2 lousy points on my last formal evaluation.  Every time I think about it, I get annoyed, because there are so many teachers who just come in and punch the clock in and then out and they're done, and they get the highly effective tag.  I'm feeling as if I will never be a success in my district, and it's not a good feeling, especially when I'm doing this whole teaching math thing literally for them.  Why?  Mainly because I made the commitment. There's also the fact that I don't have another job lined up. 

Pain was bad on and off today.  I would really like it to resolve itself and then I wouldn't have to have so many doctor's appointments.Things I know it's not: a urinary tract or bladder infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, kidney stones, anything digestion related.  My labs were stellar, and any or all of those would have shown up somehow.  Here's hoping we'll find out what it is, and that it won't be terrible. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

the headlong rush to the end of the year

Tomorrow is my students' field trip, just a fun day for them, really, but it's totally boring for us teachers since we literally have to stand around and watch them.  I am tempted to bring a book but it's simply not done.

Tomorrow night, eighth grade promotion ceremony, then Thursday is my last day at my current campus.  I will be going to the new, closer campus next "fall" - school starts for us in mid-August, to give time for the construction to finish, so I have a somewhat "late" start.

This end-of-year stuff is exhausting me, though.  I've arranged labs and activities for my students that involve buying stuff, setting it up, and then cleaning up after -- and since I only have one sink in my classroom, that means I'm stuck with nearly all of the cleanup tasks. It's a lot of work, but the students seem to appreciate it (some even actually say thank you), and, you know, it's my job, it's what I do.

Lately what I do is worry about what's going on with me.  I've had the pain and fullness that usually accompany an ovarian cyst since the end of March.   Usually it resolves itself in 4 or 5 or sometimes 6 weeks, but whatever this is, it's hanging on.  I finally called my gynecologist a week and a half ago, only to find out that he has closed his private practice and joined a large group practice, which I hate.

I know I hate it because I saw him there last Tuesday, where he did the most cursory of exams and declared that I probably have diverticulitis, even though my digestion is pretty much perfect (for me). He did order an ultrasound, and because this is a large practice and they do everything in house, I had to wait until today to get it.  It took all of two minutes, since the only thing the tech imaged was the ovaries, and she said they looked fine.  I certainly didn't see any cysts so I'm confused.  What could make me feel like there's a cyst when there isn't?

Well, duh: ovarian cancer.  When I run what I'm feeling through various symptom checkers, it comes up near the top of the list. I didn't notice anything weird about the ultrasound though, so if there is cancer it's not exactly obvious.  That is one of the known problems with ovarian cancer, it's not obvious.  It's not a bladder infection or UTI because the urine culture came back negative.  I'd be surprised if it's PID...

With any luck results will be back by the end of the week, and I'll have some indication of what the next steps are.  This doesn't seem to be going away and it's annoying and painful and makes the lower part of my stomach stick out and I can't even suck in my gut anymore.

In the meantime, I've started reading the texts for my two classes, when I really should be studying for the Math AEPA I'm taking next Tuesday!  I admit I'm somewhat terrified about teaching math (along with science) next year, but I figure I can handle it, with help.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

mother's day

These past few weeks have been rough.  Every time I turned on the television there was some ad or program referring to Mother's Day to remind me of my own dear mother's absence. I finally just gave up and would only watch streaming videos so I wouldn't have to deal with it.  

I'm still angry about this whole situation, even though that doesn't make sense.  I go through relatively long periods where I'm fine (because I'm not thinking about it), but then I'm not.  I'm just sort of... empty, missing something that can't be replaced.  I suppose I will get used to it.  I'm kind of used to it already in some ways, but not in others...

My day today involved a nice brunch, all going out to a movie together, and a nice dinner in the evening.  Brunch was later than I expected because I underestimated how long it would take to make both blueberry cake (for the family) and lemon muffins (gluten- and sugar-free for me), but in the end it was all quite delicious.  

The movie was Captain America:Civil War, which involved less silliness and stupidity than I expected, and thus was thoroughly enjoyable.  I think the thing I liked best was the care the writers took to show that the characters are actual people, with real feelings.  It was well done, and everyone enjoyed it.

Dinner was surf & turf, I prepped and DH grilled.  We ate outside, and afterwards the two older children and I stayed outside for quite a while just talking and being together, and that made today completely perfect.

There were other things, of course: I talked to both my sisters, and texts went back and forth among all my siblings.  Somehow all the laundry got done.  I thought about grading some tests but that didn't happen... no big deal, I'll have time to do it this week since I have my prep hour back. (All of the younger grades have now visited junior high science.)  I was fairly successful most of the day in not thinking about whatever is going on with (what I think is) my ovarian cyst -- will just have to wait until Tuesday to find out.  I'm glad I was able to not-think about that for a good part of the day.

Perhaps some won't believe me when I say I don't need anything, but I know there will come a time when my children will not be able to spend (most of) a day with me, and so I'm appreciating it while I can. Time is the most precious thing we have, and being with my family is the best thing in the entire world.