Friday, July 29, 2016

not cancer!

Of course this is great news.  I spent the last 2 weeks trying not to spin myself up into a frantic mess over this and did a pretty good job.  It helped that yesterday the kids and I went to an early matinee of Star Trek Beyond and then out for a nice lunch at Nico Heirloom Kitchen, the new restaurant in Gilbert's downtown area.  But I was still pretty nervous about this one.

The diagnosis itself surprised me, because I don't think it ever came up in any of the symptom checkers: interstitial cystitis.  I had always thought symptoms associated with IC were like those of a urinary tract infection, and that's not what's going on with me at all.   The doctor said this is usually a diagnosis of exclusion, what you get stuck with when all the tests come back negative and you're still in pain.  However, in my case, my bladder actually demonstrated the hallmark "weepy" behavior when she hyper-inflated it while I was under anesthesia, so this is not one of those "we don't know what else to say, so we'll say this," situations.

Treatment, for now, is physical therapy, just once a week for six weeks to try and strengthen my pelvic floor muscles (which are operating well from my perspective, but once again, I don't know what I don't know here.)  I've had great results with physical therapy in the past, so I'm hopeful.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Yes, I know the title is redundant.

I'm up now because I had a little nap, and I had a little nap because I was exhausted.  I've worked the last 3 days at my old school, even though my new school in-service doesn't start until next week.

The junior high has grown so much at my old school that they have hired more teachers, and the person they hired to teach the overflow math and science classes bailed just days before school started.  Since I will be teaching those subjects at my new school, I offered to help out.  A new teacher was hired almost immediately, and she started on Monday, but there was so much district-specific orientation to go through that the administration had me come in and teach her classes Monday through Wednesday.

This was cool for a number of reasons, the first being it was really nice to see everyone again.  It really is a great team there, and the new people they've brought on board fit right in and have the right spirit.  Since I will be team lead at the new school, it was good to get a preview of what to expect in terms of new requirements from the administration, etc, too.

It was especially cool to get some practice in teaching math.  I haven't done it before, but compared to teaching science, it's a pip: every class has the same format.  I don't have to go scrounging around the web looking for content or songs or labs, I just deliver the curriculum.  I can see how it could get boring, but I'm surprised by how much I'm looking forward to it.  It was really good to be able to practice with my old colleague right there across the hall to pester whenever I had a question.  She was very patient with me, and I really appreciated that.

Of course I am thoroughly exhausted now, and the only reason I'm up is the aforementioned nap.  I wasn't bothered by pains while at school, mostly because I was too busy, but by the time I got home in the afternoon I felt horrible.  I'm still bleeding a tiny bit, too, but not as much, and the bladder pain has almost completely subsided.  I'm glad to have had the distraction these past three days.  Now I just have to keep busy until my appointment on Friday when I find out (I hope!) what's going on with me.  I think it's ridiculous, having to wait two whole weeks for the results, but not everyone can give one-day turn-around the way they do at M. D. Anderson.  (Some part of me believes I'll be back there soon for treatment, but the rest of me is just carrying on as if that's ridiculous.  It's not quite ridiculous, or even really unlikely, but I like to think it is.)

I have that good sense of exhaustion that comes from having done good work.  Tomorrow I start (again) my last week of vacation, and I have to make calls to arrange my last content class, plus I have plans with the kids.  This is a good way to end the summer.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Flagstaff wildflowers

DD and I took off yesterday afternoon for an overnight in Flagstaff.   My Thursday class had been rescheduled, so I had the evening off, and we hiked the trail behind Little America.  It was peak wildflower season, with tiny but mighty flowers everywhere.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

in-between time

I'm much more comfortable after removing the catheter on Monday.  Somewhere I have a little diatribe to deliver about that, concerning such things as taping it to my right leg, which would have made driving very uncomfortable if I'd had to do it, and taping it rather tightly, so that it was difficult for me to really pick that leg up to do anything, like, say, go upstairs.  I survived.  Now I'm just sore and my gastroparesis is back and I'm hoping that goes away soon.

I still have ten more days before I find out if anything good (or actionable) came from this process.  The only information I have is that the weird area was much more vascular than the doctor expected.  That, of course, freaks me out, because cancer cells build their own blood supply.  But there were no abnormal cells before, so I'm holding on to that, for now.

I had a break from my usual pains because I was on round-the-clock ibuprofen just so I could sit down or lay down while I had the catheter.  I'm off it now and see that the crab is still in residence, so whatever has been going on is still going on.

My school email is picking up with all sorts of start-of-the-year information, because some of our schools started pre-service today.  I don't have to go back until August 3, and that's good, because I need to get my act in gear and get my lesson plans done as much as possible -- at least spend an hour or so just changing the dates, etc.  Tomorrow afternoon I'm going back to my old school to meet the math teacher and get some help from her -- this is going to be a trip.  Right now I'm feeling like I'm going to enjoy teaching math more than science, because the science curriculum is being re-written in a way that's just a huge lost opportunity.  I'm not letting myself get involved.

I'm staying away from watching the politics and only reading a little.  I just can't go there this time.

Tomorrow: do my History of Science mid-term in the morning, visit school in the afternoon.  That class is coming to an end quickly, and I'm going to have to put together a final project for that, too.   I sense the walls closing in, so to speak: soon I'll have way too much to do, and not enough time to do it in.


Friday, July 15, 2016


Home, post-op, with a catheter for the next 3 days.  It could be worse.

Well, here's what's worse: I won't find out anything for 2 weeks. *sigh*

Thursday, July 14, 2016

vaguely discontented

I have been increasingly down this week, but I'm hoping this is my last day of feeling "off."  My surgical biopsy is tomorrow, and once that's done, I can relax, focus, and prepare for the new school year.  I hope.

My vision field test and other assorted eye tests were all fine today, good news that I just shrugged off at the time.  But it really is good news.  How many people my age need only lowest-power reading glasses ("cheaters") to be able to read easily?  I can read without them, it just takes longer.

Drinking lots so I won't be too dehydrated tomorrow.  Here's hoping.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Posted yesterday that I wasn't fatigued.  Crashed at 9pm, slept past 9am, feel like I've been hit by a truck and could sleep for a week.  What did I do yesterday? It was a busy-driving day but not physically demanding.  I don't get this at all.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

med stuff

Our flight home Saturday was uneventful.  The timing was such that we were able to drop off the rental car, attend mass at the airport chapel, and then have dinner at Legal Seafood before we boarded.  It was nice to have that one last New England meal before we left, but I was more than ready to come home.

Now that we are back, we're in that whirlwind of appointments and other random things that need to get done.  I am luxuriating in having so much time at home, but I'm already fighting the tendency to just sit around reading.  It seems foolish to complain about the heat, but it would be stupid to plan outdoor activities when it's 108 degrees out there.

The crab, the pelvic/lower back pain that has been my constant companion since the end of March, is much the same.  This morning I saw my GP to be cleared for surgery on Friday.  Yesterday I spent an hour just getting the paperwork from my urologist's office; it took that long to get the insurance information.  I just started a new plan year on July 1, but I think I will have met my deductible by the end of this week!  I am very lucky that we can afford for me to have all these health issues.

That paperwork included a release form which was basically terrifying.  On the upside, I don't have any of the symptoms of bladder cancer like blood in my urine, and the cytology didn't find any abnormal cells there, either.  I'm also not having fatigue, or problems with my digestion, either.  So I don't have any of the usual symptoms of really bad things, except I still have this pain.  My urologist was skeptical that what she saw in my bladder could be causing the pain I'm having, but she's going to check everything out while under anesthesia on Friday.  My biggest hope is that she can figure out what's going on.

I have been going a little crazy chasing rabbits on the internet.  There are only so many ways I can put my symptoms into the different symptom-checkers, and they all say the same things, except for the Isabella, which brings up scary things like abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is something that nearly killed my father.  But if I had that, it would have shown up on the CT scan, I think, although the lack of contrast limited what they could visualize. Other research topics: bladder wall irregularities, bladder cancer, urethral dilation, the correlation of RAI treatments and additional cancers.  All this since we've been home, and it's only Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, my vision field test will by Thursday morning, and I'm wondering how that will go.  I've had 3 significant nose bleeds in the past month.  I had that weird occurrence last fall, but usually I never get them.  My guess is they are related to dry environments or dehydration, but that doesn't seem to fit the circumstances.

I have been really strict with myself about avoiding wheat, and it is paying off in better digestion and minimal joint pain.  If I drive for any great length of time, my hands are swollen the next morning, and I wonder if that means I really do have something going on, arthritis-wise.  But as long as I stay away from wheat, I don't wake up feeling like I've been hit but a truck, and that's a win. Trying to stay focused on the positive.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

not exactly as planned, but...

Heublein Tower on Talcott Mountain

We hiked up Talcott Mountain on Monday and I still haven't recovered.  The hike up was lovely, as were the views from the top of the tower, as always on such a clear day.  Then we went a bit crazy buying stuff at their little gift shop, and DS2 headed back on his own because he was restless with us.  DH, DD and I decided to follow the blue trail down, which DD and I had done last year.  It's a side trail that's a bit more rugged and much quieter.   It was a nice hike down, except...

The blue and yellow trails only converge at the top, near the tower, and they pretty sharply diverge near about three-quarters of the way down the mountain.  Last year, somehow or other we found ourselves back on the yellow trail near the base, probably at the point where the Metacomet Trail turns sharply east.  We ended up on the road by the park entrance and then followed it back to the tower trail, where DS2 had been waiting patiently... for an hour.

Overall it was a lovely day, but that last hour was difficult.  Gnats kept flying into my eyes in a way that really disturbed me.  I don't recall that ever happening so many times before.  It was creepy.  Also, in that last hour, my ibuprofen wore off and I hadn't thought to bring any with me, since I didn't think we'd be gone that long.  Of course the crab woke up and has basically been tormenting me ever since.  I've been up early the past two days not because I don't want to sleep any more, but because my ibuprofen has worn off and the pain wakes me up.

DH has taken the kids tubing on the Farmington River, but I declined because I don't want to sit in an inner tube for 2 hours, even if it's just nicely floating down the river most of the time.  Having to be stuck somewhere for 2 hours any where does not sound fun to me right now.  I have homework to do for my history of science class, which I will do when I finish this post.  I'm finished with my philosophy of biology class, having written a nearly-five page reflection on the need, value, and importance of philosophical considerations of biology.  I wasn't thrilled with the paper but at least it is done, and now I only have one class to manage, and this one will be over in a month's time, too.

I'm glad I went on the hike, even if all that unaccustomed exertion is what put me in my current sorry state, where even with the ibuprofen I still have considerable pain.  We'll be home Saturday, and I have appointments already lined up to pursue a diagnosis.   In the meantime, it's lovely to be here where it's so green.
DD at the top of  Talcott Mtn

Gorgeous 4th of July Sunset at Bloom Hill Farm