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August 2014




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Aug. 15th, 2014


Cancer is a cakewalk.

I've had depression forever. When I look back on childhood, I recognize that I've fought with it since before I was aware of myself as a person. I spent huge amounts of my teen years fighting depression and suicidal ideation, with not a whole lot of effective help from anyone much. Lots of people TRIED to help, but were pretty ineffectual about it. Lots more people wouldn't have tried to help even if they knew I was suicidal - as a non-religious teen, I was a strange creature indeed in my southern hometown, nigh unto being some sort of animal. It was hard, I lived through it, I made a very strong clean break with that town and its religious-bigot denizens, and moved hundreds of miles away.

Fast forward 24 years, and I'm successful, very happily married, have a family and friends and plenty of good things in my life ranging from art and music to a good job etc. I've very recently gone through a bout of cancer, with surgery and radiation behind me and a half-decade of Tamoxifen therapy ahead of me. I've had ridiculous numbers of other health problems ranging from after-effects of a car wreck to rare conditions such as bile reflux gastritis. I take handfuls of medication each day, and live with not too much pain on a regular basis. I'm even back in touch with several people from my hometown.

The assorted surgeries for the car wreck injuries and cancer and other conditions have been difficult. It is complex feeding me - between food allergies and the medication schedule for the bile reflux, I have to be very careful with when and what I eat. Radiation was extremely difficult, and I'm not finished with all of its effects yet.

I'll tell you, though, compared to depression, cancer is a cakewalk.
seemed like a good spot to cut for length...Collapse )

Jun. 4th, 2011


Travel journal

or, My Travelling Companion was 7 years old.

Often when I travel I find myself singing songs about the area/region/place I'm going to. The standards for Louisiana are the one that has a chorus of 'Goin' to Louisiana with a banjo on my knee', and 'City of New Orleans' (the Arlo Guthrie version, usually), if we're flying in to MSY. There wasn't much in the way of music in my head this time, but now that I'm reflecting on it, most of the Graceland album by Paul Simon is making itself known. We didn't go to Memphis, but we did go to Nashville, and that's close enough for my inner DJ. I played this record (yes, on vinyl) CONSTANTLY my last 2 years of high school, just before I left for good. The sub-title is a modification of one of the lines in the title track on that album.

Cut mostly for lengthCollapse )

Feb. 19th, 2011

Changed Priorities

Having trouble believing this

Insert obligatory post about how fantastic it was to get back to Ymir, and we all had a good time (except for the bit where we briefly lost the boy, or he lost us), our newcomers had a great time, it was good to see harleenquinzell get put on vigil (laurel, natch) etc.

But mostly, SQUEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!

About an hour before court, when things were devolving into that sort of 'what do we do now?' chaos, I was trying to round up teen-newcomer and the boy to head back down to the field for a bit. llelwyn engaged me in a fairly surreal conversation about sock knitting, and both teen-newcomer and the boy took off, in opposite directions, to elsewhere in the hall. A herald came in and called attention so all could hear their majesties (who had come in behind him), and he opened the court and calls my name. I came forward, and Her Majesty started talking about how I do things, and help out, and so on, so I was thinking I'd get a Golden Dolphin. But no, instead out of left field they made me a court baroness! I'm STILL having trouble believing this. And that was it, the entire attack court, just for me. Because I don't go to court.

Sep. 30th, 2010

sheared pipe

back to square 1

So much for a possible diagnosis. I've got a couple of other people to go see, but not a lot of hope at the moment. I've got a pain-management guy at one clinic, and another general surgeon at another clinic. But the general/hernia surgeon I saw at light-blue-U hospital said that it's not a hernia. Of course since 75% of what he sees are hernia patients, that's what he was looking for. *sigh*

I talked to a lady at dark-blue-U hospital today and she couldn't figure out where to send me, so she's sending me to another general surgeon. I dunno, I suppose it's possible that nobody's going to figure this out, and I'll just go through the rest of my life not being able to pick anything up or ride my bicycle or swim or...

Sep. 17th, 2010


oddities of parenting #8,951 (a mild rant)

This evening the immediate family headed over to the boy's school for the annual ritual of Open House. We received reassurances that he was doing great, we had fun talking to other parents and neighbours and his (very bubbly and excellent) teacher, but due to a miscue on my part we didn't sign him up for on-site babysitting so we switched off and each went to one session of the open house while the other hung out with the boy. I got him to finish his homework pretty quickly, so we headed out to tour the school. some people shouldn"t be allowed...Collapse )

I guess I'm glad that I look so trustworthy, and of COURSE I wasn't going to let the kid get hurt/abandoned/whatever, but jeezus freaking christ, people, whatever possesses some people to just run off and leave their charge without confirming that they're looked after? At 7, I would have been fine with them being on the other playground by themselves, and I do try really hard not to be a helicopter parent, but the Rainbow Playground is just too far away and isolated. And the high school was having a football game, so the noise level was pretty high, which means that a hurt kid crying 'help' wouldn't have even been heard down there. The kid had told me that he was there with three people, but I guess they couldn't be bothered to work out a kid-minding schedule among them. Feh.

Sep. 9th, 2010


possible diagnosis!

This, of course, will have to be confirmed with a CT, but it FEELS right. I went to see a 2nd GI/general surgeon, this one at UNC, and he was a good deal more explanatory and willing to listen than the first (irritating) guy.

To those playing catch-up, this is all about my abdominal pain on picking up heavy things. I pick up something heavy (like, say, a baby, or a bag of groceries) and it hurts. Last time I picked up a bag of groceries it hurt for four days. This was about 6 weeks ago. This started when I had a baby (unsurprisingly), although it had been exacerbated by bagpiping, carrying my right foot around while on crutches, and the way I used to hold my hips. At any rate, the visit started out well (including a bus ride because parking at UNC Hospitals SUCKS). I didn't even have time to sit down in the waiting room. I talked to a resident first (when did they get so YOUNG?!?), who was so impressed with my latest medical trick (circling or outlining the problem spot(s) with sharpie) he told me I was hired. I told him that I worked at Dark-blue-U, at which point both he and the nurse said 'What are you doing here, then?!?' which was funny. He felt the crevasse I've got at the bottom of the rectus abdominus, but didn't know quite what to do next. He went and got the attending, who was the man I was there to see anyway. After a great deal of poking around and pushing (which HURT), he sat down and drew me a picture. He thinks I've got an epigastric hernia, which is much more common in newborns. He did also say that I'm not the first bagpiper he's seen (he's a hernia specialist). He said that I need a different kind of CT than the other doctor had tried to order for me, and I've got that scheduled for the 28th of September, with a follow-up visit to see him that same day.

If that's it, then I'll need surgery, and I'll push for the mesh type instead of sutures because I DON'T want to do this again (and I'm not growing, either). I think I can handle this.

Aug. 18th, 2010



I just finished reading The Checklist Manifesto, and it's gotten me thinking about a whole host of things. Not least, I'm thinking about work and workflow and why not just documentation but also process is important, and also about future surgeries (for myself or for people around me), and the possibility of learning to fly an airplane (I've been daunted by the checklist in the past, but I understand the purpose quite a bit better now). But I'm also thinking about different applications entirely for the checklist idea.

If, say, you are on a diet, and you have trouble controlling your willpower, you can keep a checklist to check to see if you can/should eat something or not - not a list of foods, but more a list of 'is it fattening', 'is it nutritious', 'will it REALLY taste all that good', 'how close am I to my calorie target' and so on. I'm still fleshing this out (heh), but it might actually grow into something useful, sort of a willpower-augmentation device. For me, at least. I find if I make up my mind about, say, dessert, BEFORE I get to a place, I'm far less likely to actually have any, for example. A checklist might help me in situations where I am 'attacked' by dessert.

Or for spending money. We all know we shouldn't spend more than our budget, and it's easy to say 'oh, just this once,' or whatever, but if you say 'do I really need it', 'will I still want it in a week', 'is it REALLY in the budget', etc., that might help too. I have much less trouble spending too much than I do with not spending enough, however, so maybe I need to work in the opposite direction, I don't know.

I expect this will grow a bit in the next little while or die completely and you'll never hear another peep. I'm hoping for 'grow a bit'.

Jul. 23rd, 2010


DC Metro

Letter I wrote to the DC Metro complaints website:
clicky for whingingCollapse )

Jul. 12th, 2010


Weekend update

We went to DSI Comedy Theater on Friday night, and it was hilarious fun. We were extremely grown-up and skipped dessert that night in favour of the birthday cake I planned for my mom's birthday the next day. I did get a chance to try on Nikulai's favourite shoe but they truly don't fit my odd feet (not that I was at all surprised).

I'd planned all along to throw my mom a small birthday party this Saturday, so N. and I geared up to bake a cake. One of the neighbours called to ask if N. could come over and play, but he didn't want to, so we invited the neighbour O. (an almost-5-year-old) over to help bake. I got N. to teach O. things like how to use the eggbeater and how to turn on the mixer, and they each got a cupcake. It went REALLY smoothly, and didn't take a whole lot longer than if I'd done it all by myself. The cake is FABULOUS - dark, moist, and delicious. Come to K'berg tonight and you'll get to taste it, as it needs to go away before I eat the rest of it.

The small dinner party went well, including a Bakugan game with the birthday-present Bakugan N. got for his Mimi (my mom). What else could he possibly have gotten her?

Sunday saw us buying shoes for Bigfoot, as well as a haircut. He is now buzzed, and he loves it. His favourite part- he doesn't have to comb it!

Jul. 7th, 2010

Nate the Great

And now I will regale you with yet another cute-kid story.

cut for those who don"t want their teeth to rot out from the sugary-sweet cuteCollapse )

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