Hola! Welcome to 2011 my dear lil readers. I hope everyone had a beautiful New Year’s Eve. I did. Me and the hubs and our two kitties spent a quiet night at home together. We greeted the new year with a kiss, a good cry, gratitude and phone calls to mom and Tommy and Arlene. We were on our feet and outside* a little after midnight.
*points above* That’s me up there.
Please bear with me as I meander and ramble my way through today’s post. Last night I found a program called Photo Booth on my laptop. It allows you to take pictures of yourself right at your computer. I took a picture and was like OMG! Look at me. (and not in a good way) I’ve never felt that I’m attractive and now I’m bald. Holy hell I’m a hot mess. I’ve often jokingly described myself as the short girl with the big giant noggin and teeny tiny feet. I suppose the big belly and wide hips keep me from tipping over. I’m kidding, sort of. I look at myself and see my imperfections.
My friend Angel has declared this the year of learning to take care of herself and by taking care of herself she means not only fitness and such but also nurturing her creative side. She’s going to read more, take more walks, play in her beautiful garden along with eating better and taking vitamins. I’ve decided to take a page out of her book. I’m going to learn to love myself. I’m going to see the beauty inside me as well as around me. I’m going to learn to look at pictures of myself and not cringe. I’m going to buy a beautiful wig (perhaps even a red one) and pretty scarfs and I’m going to look in the mirror and remind myself that audacious is good, smart and opinionated is good, I’m going to find the voice I once had and holler. I’m going to be brave and I’m going to face radiation treatments head on. I’m gonna get through 2011 and be better for it. I’m bound and determined and I’ll fake the rest if I have to. *laughs*
As part of my new outlook I’m going to take a picture each day**, which hopefully will motivate me to get out of my jammies and make myself presentable everyday; not just on doctor appointment days. Today’s picture was taken right after I got home from a lovely walk in the park (picture post to follow) and a quick trip to Barnes & Noble to buy Godiva chocolates for my Aunt Gloria.
*My own superstition. When I was in 8th grade I fell and sprained my ankle on Dec. 27. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve mom had me stand on my own two feet so as to not greet the year on crutches. The outside part is my own thing. I think it started after we got married and moved here. I don’t remember.
**Don’t worry. My ugly mug won’t be the only content you see here during 2011. Fear not I’ll still be my ranting and raving self.
It’s been a rough year hear at Casa de Soapboxville. Lots of family members sick, me included. I know we should all be rejoicing in the fact that both I and my father survived pretty serious health scares but instead it’s a fairly low key Christmas. I think everyone’s exhausted and worn out from worrying over the past 12 months. It breaks my heart to see what my sickness has done and is doing to my parents. They’re in their 70s and the shock of what happened and now constant worry about my well being is and has taken its toll mentally, emotionally and financially. I wish more than anything that it was not worry about me (or anything) that weighs heavy on their hearts.
I’m not sure we’ll get around to Christmas shopping or Christmas card writing. I’m thinking everyone gets New Years cards and Valentines Day gifts. We’ll see what comes of this week.
Changing gears and moving on to more positive news, I had an appointment with Dr. Bussey, the neurosurgeon on Friday. As it turns out the MRI revealed there is less cancer than they first believed and the blood clot has shrank significantly. I have to have another Cat Scan in mid January to check the blood clot’s progress again. There is the possibility that I could be off the Lovenox (blood thinner) by late January.
I have an appointment with the plastic surgeon on Wednesday. She is the doctor who will give the go ahead for me to begin radiation treatments. My head is still healing from surgery and I am unsure when Dr. Matthews will give the go ahead. She’ll check me again on Wednesday and let me know how I’m progressing.
The hubs and I watched Miracle on 34th St. tonight on AMC. It helped inspire a holiday mood and reminded me of a favorite holiday tradition. Each year on KYW 1060 AM they play a reading of Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus as read by Vince Lee. It never fails to make me cry and remind me of the beauty and magic all around us every day. I looked for it online tonight but it’s not up yet. If I find it I’ll post it. For now I offer you the text of the letter and a reading I found on You Tube.
“DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
“Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
“Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
“Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
“115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.”
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Enough of the heavy stuff! Let’s move on to something silly for tonight. I like to color. Plain and simple this almost 38 year old woman likes to color. I always have. A coloring book and crayons was one of my most favorite toys when I was a kid. I still love to color. When I was 19 and had mono someone bought me a very cool coloring book from Tower Books on South Street. Art for Aids put it out and proceeds benefited Aids research. A few years ago I bought myself a coloring book of geometric shapes from Amazon.com. There’s just something soothing about the feel of a crayon in your hand and the sound it make as it covers the paper in color.
When I got home from the hospital one of my very best friends sent me a care package full of things to make me happy. One of the items was a Winnie the Pooh (my childhood favorite) coloring book and another was a box of 24 crayons. That same week my mother bought me a Hello Kitty (another favorite) coloring book and a box of 48 crayons. So in addition to writing and taking pictures I’ve been coloring to keep my mind and my hands occupied. It’s been good for me to have so many creative outlets. It helps alleviate the anxiety.
Hola kiddies! It’s Monday, December 13. It is 1 week until my 38th birthday.
I’m back to tell you that I survived the nasty cold I caught over Thanksgiving weekend.
I also survived the pneumonia shot I received on Monday, December 6.
You can also add to the survival list an MRI, a cat scan and an ultrasound. The dye didn’t kill me nor did the fear of being sucked into a super magnetic tube. Yay me! I had Xanax to take in case I needed it but I opted to tough it out. As it turns out it wasn’t so bad. The tube wasn’t all that long and was open on both ends so it wasn’t like being encapsulated in a big closed in tube.
I was quite nervous about having dye injected into my veins twice in one day and I was none too thrilled at the prospect of being encapsulated in a big tube while magnets scanned and created a picture of my brain. I decided against taking the Xanax before the MRI because A. I’d never taken it before and B. I read one of the possible side effects is hallucinations, which sent me worrying that I’d hallucinate while trapped in the aforementioned magnetic tube. (see i told you. i worry in detail and i have a fabulous imagination.)
I suppose it was a good thing I was awake and alert and untranquilized for this visit as I had to answer quite a few questions and sign my life away before I ever made it into the room. Now to offer you a little back story. During the operation the neurosurgeon put a titanium plate in my head. For anyone who’s never had an MRI you have to remove all your jewelry and there is to be no metal of any sort in the room. This includes things implanted in your body i.e., stents, pace makers, insulin pumps, etc. I told the girl who made my appointment that I have a titanium plate in my head. Sure, no problem. I told the girl who was checking me in that I have a titanium plate in my head. Sure, no problem. I tell the doctor who walks me back and takes my information that I had a titanium plate in my head. Problem. He gets the MRI tech and I tell her the same info I just told the him including the bit about having a titanium plate in my head. She asks me, “Does it have screws in it?” Me: ~ blink ~ ~ blink ~ ‘”Ummm … I don’t know.” I tell her that I e-mailed Elizabeth, the nurse practitioner who works alongside Dr. Bussey, my neurosurgeon and that she said the MRI that they ordered was safe for me to do because the plate was made of titanium. I also told her that said e-mail was on my iPhone, which was out in the waiting room with the hubs and asked if she’d like to read it. She did and so we made our way out to the waiting room to retrieve my iPhone and Elizabeth’s (nurse practitioner) card so the MRI technician could call Elizabeth.
A decision was made to have me to do cat scan first so they would be able to see where the plate was before doing the MRI and allow the technician time to call Elizabeth. The cat can of my head took about 5 minutes. After I was finished the MRI technician came to get me. I asked did she talk to Elizabeth and she said, “No.” She said but that was okay because the e-mail pretty much spelled it out and that “If I was confident she was confident.” ^insert me looking alarmed here^ She went on to say that since it was my neurosurgeon ordering it she figured he knew what he was talking about and so she was okay with going ahead with the test. ^insert me looking alarmed here also^
I was here for the MRI and so I took a deep breath and walked into the MRI room all the while hoping that Elizabeth and the MRI tech knew what they were talking about. All I could think of while I was in there was that my head was going to be sucked up to the top of the machine. The MRI itself took about half an hour. The first part of the test was without the dye and the second part of the test was with the dye (more anxiety). I can happily tell you the machine didn’t swallow me, I didn’t die from the claustrophobia and the dye didn’t kill. All in all a positive experience. I won’t know anything about the MRI or the cat scan until Friday when I see Elizabeth and Dr. Bussey.
Earlier in the week I’d seen that Guitar Center was having a big sale so after the MRI we took a ride over to the Guitar Center in Cherry Hill so the hubs could buy himself a guitar stand for his acoustic guitar. The sky was a pretty mix of sun and clouds in anticipation of the next day’s rain. I used my iPhone to take a few photos. (i really need to remember to take my good camera with me everywhere.) This is the best of the few shots I took.
Tomorrow I should know the results of the ultrasound and find out if the Lovenox is causing the higher liver number or if I have gallstones or a fatty liver. I’m hoping it’s nothing. Who am I kidding? I’m praying it’s nothing while trying (and not doing a great job) not to obsess or worry too much about the outcome.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more Reverb 10 posts.
~ Carol Anne