Thursday, July 28, 2005

If you're now convinced I've lapsed into an Iodine-induced coma, please forgive me. We've had some killer thunderstorms this week (which are funny in my house. Trevor runs into Oscar's room, Oscar tries in vain to put himself between me and the big booms that surround us, all the while shaking like a leaf, and Aslan barely bats a whisker) and our home computer has gone on strike. Seems that surge protector was doing more surging than protecting, and now I have pathetic beeps on occasion, and a black screen of death. Oh my.

Nevertheless, I am alive and relatively well, and loaded with iodine-rich foods. I'm actually quite amused, because after enough seafood to drown Neptune (cheesy crab dip and crab-stuffed salmon pinwheels), now what I want is salads.

You nut, say you, you've been able to eat salad all along, right?

First of all, a salad without olives is no salad at all. And second of all, the only dressing I could have was oil and vinegar. So the bloom was off the salad for a while. But now that I can have some spiffy stuff, I've been Mary-Mary-Quite-Contrary growing my little garden of salad and lovin' it.

Tonight I'm going out to eat - at an actual honest-to-goodness-someone-else-does-the-cooking-for-you restaurant - tonight with a friend. Red Hot and Blue - how big a chain is that, anyone know? We have two within about 30 miles or so, but I don't know how widespread it is. Excellent barbecue, if you're into that sort of thing. I hear they marinate it in iodine.

In other exciting news, I can now drink with my head slightly to the side without choking. It's all about finding the God in the Details, right? Think about it. When you drink from a bottle of water, do you face directly forward exactly, or do you turn your head slightly? For whatever reason, I turned my head slightly as a matter of habit (maybe to prevent my vision from being obstructed? I don't know). For the past month, that has made me choke, for whatever reason. But now it seems swelling has gone down enough that I can drink in whatever position is most comfortable to me. YAY!

Knitting is going slowly still... feeling my normal fickle self, where I just can't decide what I want to be working on. Well, that's not true. What I want to do is finish all the many many many projects I have going just to be done with them, and then also make an aran vest out of some Peace Fleece I have. But I can't start the vest without feeling guilty, and I'm not interested in any of the projects that need finishing. Feh.

Oh, one last thing - I've tried to put all the major cancer-related info, thoughts and links onto one site. They can all be reached by clicking on "My Cancer and Me" in the sidebar over there. It's still disorganized, and will be tweaked as time passes, but in the meantime, if you have any questions, suggestions, or need for information in the cancer ilk, feel free to check there.

Monday, July 25, 2005

What did you have for breakfast???

I had a hunk of cheese (extra sharp cheddar, but I have yet to find a cheddar that I'd call "sharp enough") and one of these little beauties

Baby's First Synthroid

It's it pretty? Doesn't it just cheer you up just looking at it? And make you lose weight? And make you remember things? And give you energy?


Okay, well, I did actually take the pill, so maybe those things will start happening soon..

For lunch today I'm thinking Taco Bell (there aren't a lot of good restaurants around the office that are a reasonable lunch break) and for dinner, crab...something. I know I'll make crab dip, but maybe crab cakes, too?

Who knows. The point is, I can have whatever I want - dairy, soy, seafood, whatever - without fear of iodine quantity!!! Hip-Hip-Hoorrayyy!!!

Friday, July 22, 2005


With radiation, almost no side effects are really expected. A very small percentage of folks experience headaches. An even smaller amount (as in it's "extremely, extremely rare") experience nausea.
Any guesses how special I am?
I'm not sure if I actually qualified as "sick as a dog" but if the desire to try eating grass from the backyard says anything I just might have been. I listened to a few movies - the action on the tv screen made me queasy. I couldn't eat or drink anything - even one sip of water was like a wild rollar coaster that sent my world reeling again. They finally found a pharmacy that would deliver and it took them 7 hours to get the meds to me.
So I am actually feeling much better now, although still not anywhere close to what I think 100% should be, but hope is on the horizon. I did have to come into work today, so it should be an interesting day. But after that, I'll have tomorrow to relax with my boys that I haven't seen in over 48 hours and I miss terribly, and one knitting class which I'm hoping to the highest heaven will end up cancelled tomorrow. In any event, I'll go back out tomorrow because I finally have a prescription for Synthroid. I'm allowed to start that on Monday, which is also when I can go OFF the horrid low-iodine diet (I'm just gonna pour iodine on everything I eat from now on) and I think at that point I can justifiably say that I am "in recovery"!
Now if you'll excuse me, these words are moving awfully fast, so I think I'll just rest my head on my desk here for a while...

Monday, July 18, 2005

Isn't it sweet when your family doesn't know what you do? I'm starting to feel like Chandler, the transponster. My mother told someone that I was a board op the other day. My brother is somewhere doing a "the boss is on vacation" dance.

Family, loved ones. I AM THE MANAGER. I am in charge of the office. I have a crappy co-worker, over whom I have technical superiority (well, I personally think I'm superior in a great many ways) but not the right to fire him. He's the one who's gone this week. And technically, he's a good employee. He's a little insane, and very OCD, and nuerotic, and a jerk, and likely slightly psychotic, but he works hard and the OCD means he double (and triple, and quadruple, and beyond) checks enough that he doesn't make a lot of mistakes that I have to scramble for. He's just not someone I would ever want to see in public. Or reproducing.

I had a tough knitting class this morning. My solid student who's doing really well actually got asked to knit some demos for the store (that wasn't the tough part, I think it's great) and I also had a mother/daughter team who went to town and since Friday when they learned cast on, knit and bind off, have done something like 4 square feet of garter stitch... things. I also had a student learning purl, who is a crocheter, so she's pretty easy to teach things to (I like teaching crocheters to knit a lot - they are familiar with how yarn works, and aren't afraid of dropping stitches and things). I'm finding though that my memory is really failing lately (a side effect of the hormones) and so I'm not remembering from one class to the next where each student is, or what I've told them, and normally I'm really good at that. And I also had my most challenging student to date. She's the one I mentioned a few weeks ago, who shakes a lot. That sets me on edge anyway, more so now since my "powers of empathy" are only growing. But in addition, she doesn't seem to be aware of what she's doing. She can knit the stitch normally five times in a row, and then on the sixth time will have absolutely no idea what to do. It's as if you pulled someone who'd never seen knitting before and said "go, knit, be merry" It was positively mind-blowing, and I was getting really impatient, just from feeling so bad.

When I left the class, there was a message on my cell-phone that the person who is now supposed to regularly come in for me on Tuesdays hadn't shown up yet. I had an appointment with my car insurance agent that I had to shuffle around, meanwhile I was frantically making phone calls trying to find him, and growing more and more ticked that as lousy as I felt, I was going to have to go and fill in for the person who was supposed to be filling in for me while I recovered from this. I moved up the appointment with my insurance agent (who managed to save me $200 out of pocket on a claim by having me call from her office to file the claim so it went in before she made a change she was about to make) and when I got out, there was another phone message that he'd shown up. Seems the aforementioned jerk of a co-worker had told this guy he could show up two hours later than anyone else thought he was showing up. That's not a problem other than the "what we expect vs what we get" issue. I was really in a panic that I couldn't count on him to show up and there would be massive trouble if he didn't show tomorrow.

What's tomorrow? Why, I'm glad you asked. The first day of the rest of my life, that's what.

I take radiation tomorrow morning at around 9:30. Then I have to remain completely isolated for 48 hours, because I'll have such high dosages of radiation in me that I am a risk to others. After 48 hours, I have slightly limited exposure to others (nothing serious) and then I move on with life cancer-free! (that's the case in about 70% of folks, anyway, and if for some reason this radiation doesn't kill any remaining cancer cells running amok, I'll have another bout of radiation, much the same as this one, in a few months.

But in the meantime, the understudies much appreciate your applause, but they are now ready to offer bows to their full-time counterparts:

(see? a black sock. Ain't nothin' ya can do to make that look impressive. Feels terrific though - it's Esprit Sock It To Me, 98.7% cotton, 1.3% elastic, or something like that)

_ =
(Lorna's Laces Dafodil. The yarn is not technically self-striping, but it's doing a darn fine job of getting ALMOST there...)

I =
(It turns out that dark brown faux suede is just about as tricky to photograph as black. It looks pretty good in person. In photo, not so much. But I did include a shot of what the cable would look like if you could see it, there in the corner - it's from the Harmony Guide to Aran and Fair Isle Knitting)

And for those who care, here's a Scar Update. I'm working on getting all these links and stuff together on one page, that you can get to from my side bar, but for now, this is what you get. Hey, some people don't get gross scar pictures, so you just count your blessings, okay?

Photographic understudies

Lest it look as if I'd given up fiber in exchange for permanent moping, I took tons of pictures of things this weekend... and then left for work forgetting to load them onto the computer (also forgetting the sock I'd planned on working on, but eh.)

Saturday and Sunday I knit a black sock. I have maybe four more rows to the sock now before I bind off. I would have been done earlier, but the new Harry Potter book arrived and I was slowed down in both my reading and my knitting by doing both at once (I don't normally get hardcover books, mostly for the expense, but partly because they hurt my hands to hold them. But they work quite well at sitting quietly in my lap while I knit, so maybe I'll start getting more from the library...) (Oh, and I finished the book in just over 4 hours - about 4 hrs 15 minutes or so, give or take a phone call from my father at the exact climax of the book)

I don't have a photo of the sock, but lets face it. It's a black sock. It looks like this:

I also took a photo of the Lorna's Laces sock I knit in the car on the way to and from my grandmother's burial on the Eastern Shore. It was in Dafodil, which I ordered because the pictures I was seeing had this lovely yellow and spring green with the tiniest touch of blue.... and my dyelot was all green and blue with hardly a trace of yellow. It was still very pretty, though I would have called it more "Lagoon" than "Dafodil" I started a lace pattern on the instep (lacey horseshoe I think?) and in the car alone I knit the entire foot, just through the turning of the heel. So it looks like this:

And finally, my father's unfinished birthday gift (hey, if Schubert can do it, why can't I?) for his birthday which was this past Thursday. It's a cabled guitar strap (he, obviously, plays guitar) out of dark brown Berroco Suede and looks like this:

So that's my knitting progress! I haven't spun since before the surgery, not wanting to push my luck too much with a large spinning thing in front of me, but if I'm feeling physically well enough I do think I could pull it off again without heaving or anything... now it's just a matter of finding the energy!

But I did have an excellent little pick me up today. I didn't sleep at all last night (do do DO DO do) and was in a truly foul mood when I set off for work this morning, thinking about how cold it was going to be in the station (AC keeps the thermostat at a meat lockery-y 60F and when I bump it up to a sweltering 68F whines about how hot I like things) when the thyroid thing means I spent the weekend in a house where the temp outside was in the 80s, the AC on the inside was set at 75 only to suck some of the water out of the air, and I sat there wearing flannel pants and a sweatshirt, because my body isn't metabolizing anything I'm eating right now - metabolizing as in burning, as in creating internal heat. I think I'm essentially a cold blooded animal right now.

But when I pulled up to the station, ready for a fight, thinking "if he starts bitching at me, I'm gonna quit, but I can't afford to quit," it wasn't his car in the lot. It was one of our part-timers. The one who's maybe a little too perky and cute, but when to my alma mater of Broadcasting Schools so can't be all bad. I forgot AC was on vacation this week. And since I haven't been in since last Wednesday, that's a whole week and a half without seeing him.

Thank God for little miracles.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sometimes you just gotta laugh...

Sometimes, when you're feeling blue and mopey because you miss important people in your life, and you don't feel good, and the road uphill looks like a pretty steep climb...

Sometimes, someone will do something so obnoxious all you can do is laugh.

Well, okay, murder did cross your mind as an option, but how could you what someone with a face like this?

What could possibly cause me to contemplate Trevor-cide?

Well, I'm on the low iodine diet. It's extremely limited, but it does mean that one of the few things that I do quite enjoy that I can have is (my own homemade) bread with honey on it in the morning. And since honey shouldn't be refridgerated, it sits on the counter waiting for me to visit it in the morning.

Those of you who have met Trevor are already saying "ooooohhhhh nooooooo"

Yup. It was there. And, never one to just take my word for it, the need for Trevor to test the laws of gravity in that particular corner of my kitchen were strong. You'll all be happy to hear that gravity is alive and well in my kitchen.

And so is my mop. After a long day, a longer week, and still longer a month, mopping the kitchen floor and picking up gooey sticky glass shards wasn't exactly the relaxing night I had planned...

particularly not at ... umm... what time is it?

Heck, let's round it up to ten and call it "past my bedtime"

I did finally get the disgusting mess up, though I think it will be a while before I eat honey again. And Trevor even lived.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

You've gotta love a doctor that, when he sees you, the first thing out of his mouth is "There's my brave, brave lady!" (actually, he's got a thick, non-descript accent that I want to think is Phillipino or something close, so it was more like "Ah! Zhere's my bdafe bdafe leddy!" but still, the thought was clear). I love my doctors.

What we found out was that the tumor they removed was 47 grams (I find it amusing that the only way I could place this number into something not completely abstract was to realize that it's close to the weight of a 50g ball of yarn) and 4.5 cm oval, about the size of a large egg. It was extremely large, but relatively even, and well-contained, so they doubt any contamination of surrounding glands/organs/regions. My emotions and everything I'm feeling are just right at the moment (yay! depression ROCKS!) and the doctor looked at GB and said "she's supposed to be tired, and cranky and irritable and depressed, so you give her sympathy" (we both said he was doing an excellent job of providing sympathy, and he is). One test they've done recently is TSH levels (Dad, maybe you can help here... Thyroid Something Hormones???) A normal level is around 5. Higher numbers are hypothyroid, which is when you get into that depression, and hair and nails breaking, and weight gain, and fatigue, and all the other wonderful side effects that I'm have EVERYONE of (except infertility, but frankly, I haven't tested that so I don't know). I was at 64 last Friday, likely higher still now. So mathematicians out there will realize I'm about 13 times as tired as you are! Or something like that.

It's sort of like being in a permanent state of PMS. I've explained PMS to male friends in this way: it's not that the things that upset us are "nothing" or "meaningless" - it's that we don't have the energy to control our emotions, so everything hurts more than it normally does. It's like our bodies magnify the emotions - not that it creates emotions that aren't there already.

So I'm finding that there are many things that would piss me off with a flash that spotlights directly onto my Scottish and Italian temper, but instead of that spotlight burning out, or me being able to flick the switch to turn it off, it just keeps glaring. And I've become some huge empath, where everyone else's pain hurts as much as my own. I'd like to think I've always been particularly empathetic (certainly I always have been so with animals) but the extremes that I'm feeling are new to me (caused by that 64 up above).

Case in point: a nationally-syndicated, but local-to-me DJ lost his wife this past weekend in a car accident. The woman had been on the show with her husband and his partner many times. She was hit head on by a driver who was swerving to avoid traffic ahead of him. Not only did the news of this affect me a great deal and send me into a new little whirl of depression, I keep thinking "He's having to deal with all of this in public. He's never going to be allowed private time to grieve for the loss of his wife, his best friend, his lover..."

I've been a radio celebrity (not to his level, by any stretch, but I think once you're recognized at a drive through window, or at WalMart at 4 in the morning, it counts as celebrity) and there's a reason radio people use fake names. People believe they are your friend because you're there for them everyday commenting on things that happen in their lives. People try to get your phone number, someone who has only spoken to you on the phone to request their favorite song thinks you're dating each other (honest), they think they can comment on your hairstyle or your outfit, or whatever's going on in your life.

This man is having news stories written about him and his wife (putting out her full name and his real name) and will not only have to deal with everything involved in losing a spouse (an image I don't even want to begin to ponder) but will have to do it in the public eye. He doesn't get to control what gets said about him or her, and even if it's all completely positive, he doesn't get the dignity or respect of grieving in his own way. He may never recover enough go back to the show - I can't imagine I could go back to four hours daily of talking about my life after something like that. But in these early hours, when so much in his life is completely out of control, the simple control of being able to express things for yourself is completely demolished. Even if he were to choose to make very public statements about it, that would be his choice. The public statements others are making about him are not. It sounds very much like a horrible nightmare to me.

Monday, July 11, 2005

First a big thank you to my branch of TKGA (South River) who sent me these last week

They're gorgeous, and I'd be willing to bet that particular florist is sending flowers to my doctor for all the business that's been stirred up for them because of me. (Trevor likes the flowers too - you might be able to see him peering around the back there)

I'm doing better. It helped to have a blog to dump it all into (which is what blogs are for, right, personal mind-toilets) and the comments I received just blow me away. I wasn't begging for ego-strokes, but man... how do a bunch of what are really essential strangers know just exactly what to say? Thank you all. A big part of this is that the thyroid controls a lot of hormones that fight depression... and I don't have that anymore. So while I know that I'm under a lot of pressure right now, I also know that it's not my fault that I'm reacting this way, I'm not crazy or losing my mind, my body just isn't working right. And once I go on meds, we'll play around to get me on the right dosage, and that should help tons with all of this. I'll find out tomorrow when that will be, and I'll let you all know, of course.

On the outside, I'm healing well. (Here's a gory shot of five days after the surgery, the day I got my stitches out. Here's one of Friday, two weeks to the day after the surgery. Had I been thinking, I would have taken a shot of the lump, so you could see the full progression, but I'm not putting it back in now, even for you.)

I am happy about the healing. Aslan is not. It seems we have a little addict on our hands. What would make a guy beg his mommy over and over everytime she so much as looks towards the bathroom that it's time to put Neosporin on? What would make him yell and hollar and degrade himself to the point of begging like a dog?

Well, if one were to read a list of the inactive ingredients of Neosporin, one would find this: cocoa butter, cottonseed oil, olive oil, sodium pyruvate, vitamin E, and white petrolatum

Didja catch that? Olive Oil.

It may be time for an intervention. (No, Aslan is NOT allowed Neosporin - there are chemicals that I don't want in his tummy. But beg, he does...)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Let's Pretend

(or: "Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?")

Let's pretend your whole life you're really nothing particularly spectacular. You have a blessed life, and you are not without your gifts, but you're never really the best at anything either. You're average looking ("different is nice, but it sure isn't pretty, pretty is what it's about - I never met anyone who was 'different' who couldn't figure that out") You're an average student. Have average popularity in school - not popular, but not hated and scorned either. But you have this "secret weapon" of sorts.

You can use your voice to make people feel things.

You can speak, and use the timber and volume and pitch and tone, and people cry with you, or laugh with you... you can sing and have them tapping their toes or weeping - whatever you command... Your voice is your gift, and it's what makes you exclusively you. Even if you don't use the magic power all the time, and not everyone who knows you has heard it, it's still in your back pocket. It's there for you, waiting for when you need it. And you realize that using that gift is what you want to do for a living, through a radio or an acting performance. No. Not just what you want to do. The only thing you could do and hope to find fulfillment.

Now pretend that you discover something strange one day on your throat, and go to your doctor, and after two months of mildly irritating tests, your doctor says to you "you have a choice, you can risk your gift, this one thing that makes you YOU, or you can die"

What do you do?

Well, of course you take the risk. Without even thinking, you have to take the risk, right?

Well, part of the process, of fighting this demon that could kill you, means everything gets worse. All the things you were feeling before are now much worse. You are even more tired, more cranky. You are more forgetful, your body aches more, and if it was possible to be more irritable, you've done it. Your hair is falling out more, your libido is gone with the wind. And you're depressed. Meanwhile you're watching your grandmother die. Add to that a friend who is doing something so beautiful for you is hit by a car while training for that beautiful gift. And a brother who is undervalued at his job and at a career crossroads. And your husband is leaving in a week to go to the most dangerous place on earth, where you'll be able to have very little contact with him. Still another friend has just conquered a similar battle of her own, only to find out her own partner is in a new and different danger.

Doesn't make the depression fade away into the sunshine.

Now imagine going through all of that without your gift.

More so, imagine forgetting that you've lost your gift until you open your mouth to speak or sing. What used to make you feel better (reciting poetry or singing) is now a bitter reminder that your gift is gone. What used to be something you could control with professional accuracy, is now scratchy, and weak, and completely out of your control. And they say it will come back, but with everything else it just doesn't feel like it ever will. You spend every moment with other people saying "yeah, I'm getting better, it's really been easy, this could be so much worse" and even though you know all of that is true, you don't feel happy about it. You laugh when they do, but it's not your laugh, it's just another reminder of what's very wrong with you.

In short, I feel blue.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Goodbye, Nana

Say "hi," to Pop-pop when you see him....
(this picture, taken at my wedding, is in the same dress she wore to my parents' wedding 37 years before. We will bury her in it next week.)

Marriage is love.