Friday, August 31, 2007

Rave of the Day for August 31, 2007: 

Watched another edition of "World's Funniest Commercials" tonight. Here's a link to their site, which contains some spots too racy for TBS....

Very Funny Ads

My favorite one they showed tonight was an Ikea ad that had a boy playing with some toys. He starts laughing when he thinks he's found a silver buzzing rocket ship. Turns out it's a vibrator!

I should ad this to my Links list if I haven't already. For that matter, I need to go through the list and update it because there's lots of stuff I've been meaning to put on there. Whenever I get my brain back.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rave of the Day for August 29, 2007: 

If you live outside of South Dakota, you probably haven't heard the story of Senator Tim Johnson's brain hemorrhage last December that nearly killed him. ABC reporter Bob Woodward, who has been recovering from his own brain injury, did a "Nightline" piece that detailed the senator's amazing recovery....

ABC News: Sen. Tim Johnson Back on the Job

You might also want to click on the comments pages. Several who have posted either have suffered a brain injury or know someone who has.

I hope this doesn't seem callous or inappropriate, but I wonder if Johnson's experience will lead to any advocacy for the disabled? Think of all those people with brain injuries who haven't had the opportunity for the excellent medical care Johnson received.

As for my own health, I've had a setback. You know how I was coming out of a flare? Well, a week ago, I decided to do some LIGHT housecleaning (as in waving a feather duster around and sweeping up any dust bunnies that were larger than Chip), and I ended up right back in Flare-ville.

And so I am struggling once again with being able to write coherently. I have no one to blame but myself this time. Sigh.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rave of the Day for August 23, 2007: 

As my friend Pete said, who e-mailed the following, it's sappy but good. Oh, and to those of you who have enough dirt on me to blackmail me, just remember I've probably got an equal amount of dirt about you, heh heh....


A simple friend, when visiting, acts like a guest.
A real friend opens your refrigerator and helps himself (and doesn't feel
even the least bit weird shutting your 'Coke/Pepsi drawer' with his/her foot!)

A simple friend has never seen you cry.
A real friend has shoulders soggy from your tears.

A simple friend doesn't know your parents' first names.
A real friend has their phone numbers in their address book.

A simple friend brings a bottle of wine to your party.
A real friend comes early to help you cook and stays late to help you clean.

A simple friend hates it when you call after they've gone to bed.
A real friend asks you why you took so long to call.

A simple friend seeks to talk with you about your problems.
A real friend seeks to help you with your problems.

A simple friend wonders about your romantic history.
A real friend could blackmail you with it.

A simple friend thinks the friendship is over when you have an argument.
A real friend calls you after you had a fight.

A simple friend expects you to always be there for them.
A real friend expects to always be there for you!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I've been watching "Last Comic Standing" this summer. Tonight, they were down to five finalists, and they announced that you could vote for your favorite on NBC's website. I figured, why not? I've voted on TV shows before.

When I went to the website to vote, you had to register first. Fine, I thought. But then I saw all the information they were asking for.

In addition to your e-mail, which I expect to have to give out, they wanted your name AND your phone number AND your zip code AND your birthdate! Oh, and it's NOT an encrypted site! WTF?

Why on earth do they require all this personal information that anyone could read just to vote on a television show?? Junk e-mail I'm used to, but I don't want anyone I know calling me, and nowhere on this site does it say that this information won't be distributed to marketers or whomever. I tried leaving out my phone number, but my registration was rejected.

What's even more disturbing to me, though, is that there are possibly thousands of people willingly disclosing this info just to participate in a network poll. Is this common? Geez, no wonder identity theft is so easy.

How about I go the whole nine yards and send NBC my street addy and my Social Security number? That way they can be sure it's really me voting and not some evil hacker. Oh, and maybe I should include a photo.

It's hard enough to maintain my privacy from the Bush administration. Maybe NBC is in cahoots?

Rave of the Day for August 22, 2007: 

Took me three days of struggling with my fibrofogged brain to eke this one out, but I did finish my book review. It's up on But You Don't Look Sick....

Book Review: Living Well with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You . . . That You Need to Know

Guess I'd better hurry up and read another book so I have something more to review, heh heh. Have started and stopped the Paula Poundstone book multiple times since the first of the year, so I just need to finish that one up. In the meantime, I'm thinking of putting together articles about moving tips and tips for air travel with the new security measures.

Am verrrrry slowly becoming less of a zombie. Still have a brain like Swiss cheese, but perhaps the holes in my cognitive function are less ginormous than they were last week? And I have traded the 12 hour sleep marathons (which were actually good for me, believe it or not) for nasty bouts of insomnia thanks to my insurance company forcing me to switch to a less effective sleep med. Oh, and I've acquired daily headaches, the tension type, thanks to my new crown changing my bite and thus causing muscle spasms in my jaw. But I think if I behave myself, I might just be able to finish the Netflix mini movie reviews I started two weeks ago.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Reminiscing about foreign film.... 

Most of my readers don't know this, but I was married once before Dan. My ex was a complete film nut. Pretty much every single Saturday afternoon during the entire four years we were married, we went to a local theatre to see a movie.

We saw independent film, special screenings, re-released classics and mainstream stuff. But mostly, I remember the foreign films because I'd not really gone to them before. In addition to the foreign movies I saw in the theatre, there were the ones from the video store, the library, and my ex's own collection.

In July, while at the theatre waiting for "Order of the Phoenix" to start, I was talking with some friends about what got us interested in foreign films. After I got home, it occurred to me that maybe other people who've never been to a movie from another country might want to rent one sometime. So I tried to think of what movies I saw during the 1990's as a starting point.

With the aid of Netflix and imdb.com, I found 32 movies and made links so that my readers can read a synopsis of each one and see if that's something they'd be interested in. Not all of them were actually made during the 1990's; some are classics that I just happened to view during that decade. And while they may not necessarily constitute the best foreign films of all time, they were good enough for me to remember (after I looked them up of course, heh heh).

For each film, I gave both the foreign language title and the English title if they differ so they might be easier to find. Happy viewing!

"City of Angels" was VERY LOOSELY based on this much superior movie....
Der Himmel uber Berlin (aka Wings of Desire)

Here is a trilogy representing the colors in the French flag. They can be viewed separately, but if you watch all three, see them in this order for reasons that are revealed in Red:

In part one, a woman struggles to free herself from the trappings of grief....
Trois Couleurs: Bleu (aka Blue)

In part two, a Polish man goes on an unexpected journey when his French wife divorces him....
Trzy Kolory: Bialy (aka White)

The final installment explores the concept of fate....
Trois Couleurs: Rouge (aka Red)

May aggravate motion sickness in those susceptible....
8 1/2

Classic Italian film with a self-explanatory title....
Ladri di Biciclette (aka The Bicycle Thief)

If this wasn't the first sci-fi film, it was probably one of the most influential....

The creepiest movie vampire, ever.....
Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (aka Nosferatu)

Not available on Netflix....
Kuroi Ame (aka Black Rain)

Based on the Japanese director's actual dreams....
Akira Kurosawa's Dreams

The film that inspired "Star Wars"....
Kakushi-toride no san-akunin (aka Hidden Fortress)

Japanese version of "King Lear"....

Japanese version of "MacBeth"....
Kumonosu jo (aka Throne of Blood)

Tragically, the lead actor died the day after filming ended....
Il Postino (aka The Postman)

A film about people who love film....
Nuovo cinema Paradiso (aka Cinema Paradiso)

"Tortilla Soup" is a remake of this film....
Yin shi nan nu (aka Eat Drink Man Woman)

A marriage of convenience becomes anything but.....
Hsi yen (aka The Wedding Banquet)

Pedro Almodovar! Antonio Bandaras!
Atame! (aka Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!)

If this had been an American movie, it would have been rated "X"....
L'Amant (aka The Lover)

Classic in which a knight plays chess against Death....
Det Sjunde Inseglet (aka The Seventh Seal)

Bio of Ingmar Bergman's parents....
Den Goda Viljan (aka The Best Intentions)

A boy named Pu.....
Sondagsbarn (aka Sunday's Children)

A boy whose mother is dying is sent to live with relatives....
Mitt liv som hund (aka My Life as a Dog)

A Chinese woman competes with three other women for her husband's attention....
Da hong deng long gao gao gua (aka Raise the Red Lantern)

An artist's four daughters each seduce the same young soldier....
Belle Epoche

I believe the American remake of this was "Point of No Return"?
Nikita (aka La Femme Nikita)

See Lola run! Run run run!
Loa rennt (aka Run Lola Run)

1950's French culture clash with technology.....
Mon Oncle

Fellini classic in which a journalist parties and womanizes.....
La Dolce Vita

A Jewish boy hides within the ranks of the Hitler youth....
Europa Europa

French boy recalls growing up during the turn of the (20th) century....
La Gloire de Mon Pere (aka My Father's Glory)

Fascinating documentary about the actress/filmmaker/photographer who seems to only be remembered for Nazi propoganda.....

Die Macht der Bilder: Leni Riefenstahl (aka The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl

If I ever get around to it, I'd like to see these all again.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rave of the Day for August 20, 2007: 

If your chronic ailment could talk, what would it say? Here's a humorous "statement" from an illness and a response to it.....

A letter from your chronic condition and a reply

I'm still in the flare from hell, but I did manage to finish a book review after three days of struggle. I swear, every sentence was agony to construct, but with the brain, as with the body, if you don't use it, you'll lose it.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Rave of the Day for August 17, 2007: 

This funny just could make a person appreciate celiac disease, heh heh. Thanks to Dr. Karen for the e-mail....

Bread Alert

A recent CINCINNATI INQUIRER headline read, "Smell of baked bread may be health hazard." The article went on to describe the dangers of the smell of baking bread. The main danger, apparently, is that the organic components of this aroma may break down ozone (I'm not making this stuff up). I was horrified. When are we going to do something about bread-induced global warming? Sure, we attack tobacco companies, but when is the government going to go after Big Bread?

Well, I've done a little research, and what I've discovered should make anyone think twice....

1: More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.

2: Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.

3: In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, and influenza ravaged whole nations.

4: More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.

5: Bread is made from a substance called "dough." It has been proven that as little as one pound of dough can be used to suffocate a mouse. The average American eats more bread than that in one month!

6: Primitive tribal societies that have no bread exhibit a low incidence of cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, and osteoporosis.

7: Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat begged for bread after as little as two days.

8: Bread is often a "gateway" food item, leading the user to "harder" items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter, and even cold cuts.

9: Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey bread-pudding person.

10: Newborn babies can choke on bread.

11: Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit! That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than one minute.

12: Most American bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.

In light of these frightening statistics, we propose the following bread restrictions:

1: No sale of bread to minors.

2: A nationwide "Just Say No To Toast" campaign, complete celebrity TV spots and bumper stickers.

3: A 300 percent federal tax on all bread to pay for all the societal ills we might associate with bread.

4: No animal or human images, nor any primary colors (which may appeal to children) may be used to promote bread usage.

5: The establishment of "Bread-free" zones around schools.

Have a nice day, but stay away from that BREAD!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Rave of the Day for August 16, 2007: 

Another writer for But You Don't Look Sick put together a good essay about living with fibromyalgia. Thought I'd shine the spotlight on someone else for once....

The Fight with Fibro

On a personal note, my fibromyalgia happens to be kicking my ass at the moment. When I go to aquacise class, I don't have enough energy to write anything much, and when I work on some writing, I am too fatigued for any exercise. Unfortunately, at times like this, I have to choose exercise so I don't lose any more mobility, so my movie and book reviews and blog posts will have to be limited or delayed until I start getting some energy back.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rave of the Day for August 14, 2007: 

Recovering from a biopsy is no fun, but, I provide the following link to prove I still have a sense of humor. Some might find it mildly offensive/sexist/whatever....

The History of Boobs

While you're at it, check out the rest of the site at Dribble Glass. Guaranteed to elicit giggles.

It's ANOTHER boy! 

Jack John, my sister-in-law's son, arrived Saturday night, five weeks early. He's a little over five pounds. Didn't waste any time on preliminaries; he was born just three and a half hours after his mom got to the hospital.

There was a knot in his umbilical cord that may have precipitated his early arrival. His breathing and muscle tone were a little off at first, but these improved with assistance. After that he was just on an IV but didn't need oxygen.

His mom is doing great, and I think she went home yesterday. The docs wanted Jack to stay in the ICU for at least one more day while he got thoroughly checked out. But if all is well, he should be discharged tomorrow at the latest.

Dan and I went to visit the hospital yesterday. I'd never been to a preemie unit before. Good thing I had my wheelchair because each baby had its own room, making that section of the hospital huge.

Jack had really good color. He was sleeping, but you could tell he could hear us because he'd tilt his head toward the sound and start to open an eye. He was much larger than most of the babies in the unit, which is a good thing.

So I have gained two nephews in two weeks. I'm not very good at this aunt thing, but it is exciting.

I'll post pix when I get the chance.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rave of the Day for August 13, 2007: 

Either Stephen King thinks like me, or I think like him, probably the latter. Here are his observations on J. K. Rowling and her legacy....

Stephen King: The last word on Harry Potter

Got lots of exciting news to impart, but not much energy to blog. Will update when I can.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Rave of the Day for August 11, 2007: 

My latest article is up on But You Don't Look Sick! Yes, some of it was on this blog first, but the middle is all new.....

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

There is a fibromyalgia book I read a few months ago that I ought to review for But You Don't Look Sick next. For here, I think I'll catch up on my mini-reviews of the Netflix movies I've watched (somewhat) recently.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Rave of the Day for August 9, 2007: 

Got this in an e-mail from Petcentric. Was particularly interested in the pet photo galleries....

Dog pix, books and products

Yeah, I know it's mostly a sales gimmicks, but I just can't resist cute pix of dogs and cats. Sue me.

Who elected me mayor of Flareville? 

I guess I should be happy that today was my last appointment, at least for a while, of Stuff That Causes Pain. But I was already damned close to being maxxed out before I even set foot in the dentist's office. You know, when hurt so bad that you keep shifting in your seat trying to get even a smidge more comfortable, and you sweat and turn white as a sheet?

I'm not blaming the dentist. It's my damned Sjogren's, and the fibromyalgia, and possibly the diabetes conspiring to give me out of control nerve pain, gums and cheeks that shred at the slightest contact, and extremely slow healing. And believe it or not, I really had to be there today to give my mouth a chance to get better, even though it meant getting temporarily worse.

You see, while I had the temporary crown, my gums had very little chance to heal around it. With a permanent crown, the gums can fill back in, the area between my two back teeth won't be constantly inflamed, and bite my will be closer to normal and allow the jaw muscles some relief. But in order to achieve this, I had to get through the removal of the temporary crown and the installation of the permanent one.

For most people, this part is pretty much a breeze. But I had to get numbed again because the temp crown didn't want to come off, and all that tugging on the tooth HURT. And because my gums are still raw, they bled whenever touched, and nerve pain kept shooting around the right side of my mouth.

I could have gotten more numbing shots, but those are excruciating, and after the anaesthic wears off, I feel where the needle went in for about four days afterward. So I only got numbed enough for me to not start shrieking while they actually worked on the tooth. I got a nice silver crown because I am told it will be more durable on than a porcelain one.

It took many many tries to get the crown fitted. The dentist wanted to get it exactly right so that I will no longer have a ginormous gap between the two back teeth. A good fit will also lessen the chance that I will have to have any more work on that area.

But every time they'd put the permanent on, it felt like I had a two by four shoved in between my teeth. But they did eventually get it to where they could get dental floss between the crown and the tooth in front of it, so they declared the ordeal over. The dentist told me that over time, the gum tissue between the teeth will stop being inflamed, and I will no longer feel that crowding sensation.

So for now, it's back to soft food, salt rinses and steroid dental paste. I hope this interval of healing is swifter and more complete than the previous ones. I'd like to be able to eat regularly by the end of the month.

In other ouchie news, yesterday I had Dan help me take off the mummy wrap over the biopsy site. I had a rash already, and over half of my left breast was swollen and bruised. I put on an old oversized sports bra to prevent chafing, and that is better today.

But the steri-strip on the incision site was itching horribly when I got up today. I pulled up a bit of it and was less than thrilled when my skin came off with it. I soaked the strip off in the shower, and the whole area that had had adhesive on it was chewed up, and some of it was bleeding.

Had a bit of a dilemma when it came to what the heck I was gonna wear to the dentist since I was both bruised and bleeding. I finally dug up another old sports bra and tried to tuck a piece of gauze inside and threw a giant t-shirt on. Not glamorous, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

I know it's gonna get better. Right now, though, there really isn't any major part of my body that doesn't hurt. I feel weak and disoriented and so exhausted that I could swear vampires have drained me of all my blood.

Where is Madam Pomfrey when you need her?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Rave of the Day for August 8, 2007: 

Was doing a little catch-up on a blog I read regularly, My Social Security Disability Blog (on my Links list). Found a bunch of links on a variety of subjects.....

This one's about Social Security's personnel and backlog crisis...
SSA needs more funds to keep up with workload

This is a blog, generally inspirational in theme, from a man living with a traumatic brain injury....
Second Chance to Live

Here's an interesting message board that covers a surprising variety of neurological ailments....
NeuroTalk Communities

This poor lady has not exactly been getting Happy Meals!

Illinois Woman Born With Tiny Arms Denied McDonald's Service for Using Feet

If this doesn't make you angry, then you have no heart....
Injured troops struggle to get health care

Hard to know what to think here....
The woman who needs a veil of protection from modern life

Blog entry addressing the age-old conundrum to trying to return to work after a period of disability. Warning to the easily offended: some entries on this blog contain profanity....

My updated say on receiving SSDI and working

You may now return to your regularly scheduled surfing.

Meme break! 

Got this one from Pete. Feel free to copy the questions and supply your own answers....

If you could have had the starring role in one film already made, which movie would you pick?

Too many interesting choices here. For romantic comedy, how about Lucy in "While You Were Sleeping"? For adventure, how about Elizabeth Swan in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise? For classics, I'm thinking Elizabeth Bennet in "Pride and Prejudice". Oh, dear, it's starting to sound like I want to be Keira Knightley. Maybe I do.

If you could eliminate one thing you do each day in the bathroom so that you never had to do it again, what would it be?

How about TWO things....number 1 and number 2! That would free up quite a bit of my day!

You've just been hired to a promotions position at Kellogg Co. What would you put in a new breakfast cereal box as a gimmick?

Um, maybe those hand-held Yahtzee games? Those can keep me entertained for hours.

When trick-or-treating as a kid, was there any kind of candy that you didn't like to get?

There were these supposedly peanut butter flavored candies that came in either orange or black wrappers; I think they were made by Brachs? Anyway, they didn't taste remotely like peanut butter. Or maybe Reese's cups have spoiled me on any other pseudo peanut butter candy.

What was your favorite TV show when you were growing up?

The Carol Burnett Show.

Name the most famous person you've had a face to face encounter with ('brush with greatness')

I had an unfair advantage, working in the media. Mostly local athletes and politicians. And do book signings, comedy clubs and conventions count? I did get to interview James Young from Styx on the radio five years ago, which was the best birthday of my life.

What's the closest you've come to becoming a pop star/winning an Oscar?

I co-wrote and performed in a modified version of "A Christmas Carol" which was presented to my entire high school. I played Tiny Kim. Also co-wrote a comedy radio soap opera which was broadcast on my college's campus station. Ooh, and I actually did receive a statuette in high school for a comedic oratory poking fun at speech tournaments.

What was your favorite thing to play with as a child? Why?

I had one of those bouncy horses in a frame on springs. Sometimes, I would turn it on its side and put a blanket over the frame to make a tent, or I would pretend I was on a deserted island (can you tell I watched entirely too much "Gilligan's Island"?)

Have you ever jumped out of a plane?

Not physically capable of it now, but I would love to.

What is your favorite quote?

"The most wasted of all days is that during which one has not laughed". -Nicolas Chamfort

What is your favorite weird food combination?

Ketchup on my scrambled eggs.

If you were to be on a reality TV show which one would you be on and why?

"Last Comic Standing". Because I think I could be good if I gave stand-up comedy a shot.

What one super hero power would you like to have and why?

Invisibility. I think it could be quite freeing.

Can you comfortably eat in a restaurant by yourself? Go to a movie?

I can no longer do anything comfortably, but no, I don't mind eating or watching a movie alone. I saw "Sicko" by myself recently.

If you could be one kind of beer which one would you be and why?

Beer is off limits to me now, but I did enjoy George Killian's Red once upon a time. Now, I suppose a gluten free root beer?

What certain thing have you done that impressed yourself?

Sold, packed up, and made all the arrangements to move to a house I'd never seen before in a city I knew nothing about in a state I had only visited, with very little help. Oh, and I had only three weeks from offer to closing to accomplish this. Not bad for a woman who can't even get out of bed some days.

If you had a 'theme song' that played whenever you walk into a room full of people, what would it be?

Aside from the dozens of facetious answers that popped into my head (examples: "Oh, Pretty Woman", "You Shook Me All Night Long", "Brick House", "Fat Bottom Girls", "Baby Got Back", "You Spin Me Round Like a Record"), perhaps I'd stick with something simple, like "What I Like About You" by the Romantics.

When you were in elementary school, what was your favorite activity at recess?

Playing four-square. For a non-athlete, I actually wasn't bad. It sure beat the heck out of being chased by gross Joey Burrego.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Rave of the Day for August 7, 2007: 

With the link courtesy of Ducky, here's the story of an amazing artist. Watch the streaming video to see his incredible work.....

Strokes of genius

Whether you admire his work or are completely creeped out by it, you gotta admit he's one of a kind.


Ok, the biopsy was negative. It's your basic fibrocystic breast disease. They will check it in another mammogram in six months to make sure nothing has changed.

I may have a slightly higher chance of developing cancer than the average woman. The main thing is that cancer is harder to detect in fibrous breasts because it can be mistaken for a cyst. So if I'm wise, I will be vigilant in getting my annual mammogramm.

I can get back to my normal activity starting tomorrow afternoon if I'm up to it. But I'll wait to do aquacise until Friday because I am pretty bruised. And I should probably give myself a chance for this flare to get a bit more manageable.

My instincts were dead on this time. Too bad I had to get so dinged up to prove it.

It's the return of Ms. Crankybutt! 

For those needing an introduction, Ms. Crankybutt is my alter ego who appears whenever I get so fed up with something that I go on a rant. Ms. Crankybutt is more concerned with venting than with whether or not someone's feelings are hurt. And she is definitely not politically correct, although she is tactful enough to not actually name the persons who offend her.


I think it would be fair to admit that I am way more grumpy than usual because I feel as though someone has whacked the left side of my chest with a baseball bat, and the dressing applied to the biopsy site itches more than multiple mosquito bites. I also have a headache and a Baclofen hangover. And I'm in the worst flare in at least a year.


When I mentioned to certain nameless people that I was having a biopsy for breast cancer done, they were concerned. Extremely concerned. Actually, outright alarmed, considerably more than I was.

This might have gone unnoticed by me, except that I have been sick for 10 years, and this is my fifth body part to be biopsied. My doctors were far more concerned about the lymph node biopsy two years ago because I had all the symptoms of non-Hodgkins lympoma, and it is about 40 times more common in a Sjogren's patient than it is amongst the general population. Yet the hysteria amongst the nameless people about my breast biopsy was pretty much absent when it came to the much more invasive and potentially more serious removal of the swollen lymph node sitting next to my jugular vein.

Some of these presently hysterical people have a rather blase attitude about my chronic ailments, as if they were of minor consequence. Yes, I realize I am not at present actively dying of complications from Sjogren's or celiac disease or diabetes, but these diseases actually have the potential to be fatal occasionally, so they are not to be taken lightly. And the sum total of my illnesses are sufficient to negatively impact my quality of life.

I don't really need people to call my house daily and query as to my well-being. I'm pretty self-sufficient. But I would appreciate if the currently hysterical people had occasionally acknowledged that my life is significantly altered by my chronic ailments instead of suddenly freaking out about a common biopsy that is almost certainly negative.

Am I being unfair? Probably. But this is how I feel, fair or not: hurt that certain people are only sympathetic when I show signs of having an ailment that could happen to THEM.

Aren't rare conditions worthy of concern? Or did these people think I couldn't possibly be all that sick, that I must have been exaggerating? Or am I just ungrateful?

I will take the time to thank right now those of you who have been supportive from day one, way back 10 years ago when the doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. And those of you I have met since who have believed in me as well. I am most fortunate that there are many of you because support from friends and family is one of the most crucial elements in the mental health of a person with chronic illness.

It is probably unreasonable of me to even complain, because I suppose it's better that the hysterical people are concerned instead of writing me off. And I'll probably be over the whole thing once the biopsy comes back negative.

But for right now, I'm cranky.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Biopsied to the core.... 

Here are details about the breast biopsy I had this morning. Most of this is for ed-u-ma-cational purposes. Male readers, you are excused unless you would actually find this interesting.

Went over the procedure with the doc and his assistant beforehand. Found out that the anaesthetic they use contains epinephrine, which I am sensitive to, so they had to arrange for a replacement numbing agent. The advantage was no adrenaline reaction, but the disadvantage was that what they used was much shorter acting.

They were pretty accommodating. I got to lie face up, well, somewhat, anyway, with a pillow under my knees to support my back and another one under my arm that I had to keep propped over my head. I'm grateful I didn't have to do the type where you lie face down with your boob stuck through a hole in the table.

They did an ultrasound to establish the position of the area they wanted to sample. The technician had a hard time finding it because it was so small, but the doc helped her out. I looked at the screen and was amazed they could even tell what they were looking at because I didn't see anything that definable (but I guess that's why I'm not being paid the big bucks to be in medicine, heh heh).

Then I was disinfected and readied for the anaesthetic. I won't lie: I thought those shots hurt like a sonofabitch. But I suspect that for a person without fibromyalgia, they aren't really too bad.

The shots were actually the worst part of the whole thing because I was numb for when they took the core samples. There's an odd sensation of pressure and tugging, but it was tolerable. I don't know how many samples they got because I am squeamish and made a point of not looking.

Then they did something I'd never heard of before: they placed a tiny titanium chip in the area where they had done the biopsy. It's a marker so that on future mammograms, they will know that area has already been biopsied and they can compare it to the original films to make sure nothing has changed. The chip will not affect MRIs or security screenings in airports.

When the sampling was done, the assistant put pressure on the area to stop any bleeding, of which there was very little. She did mention that I began to bruise almost immediately and said that I may notice bruising over other areas since the needle had gone across my breast from the side. She placed a single steri-strip over the incision; usually they use more, but I am sensitive to adhesives, so she kept it simple.

After 10 more minutes or so, I was allowed to sit up. I was a bit dizzy, but that was probably my blood pressure problem rather than anything related to the procedure. Remained sitting while they readied a mammogram machine.

It's weird getting a scan when your boob is numb. On the plus side, no discomfort, but on the downside, it's harder to be cooperative when you can't tell exactly where it is, heh heh. I forgot to ask why they do a scan after the biopsy; I just followed orders.

Normally, before they send you home, they tape a pressure bandage to the biopsy site, but since my skin tends to come off whenever I use adhesives, they mummified me in that self-stick sport wrap that doesn't irritate the skin. I'm delightfully flat now, but no way will that bandage come off. They sent me home with some gel ice packs that I am to use frequently over the next 24 hours.

Good thing I only had to drive partway across town to get home because the anaesthetic was already starting to wear off. Can't take any anti-inflammatories for two more days, so I am popping two extra-strength Tylenol every four hours even though I don't think it makes much difference. The ice actually seems to be more helpful.

Post "op" instructions are: no shower, exercise or removal of bandages for 48 hours. That's it. The doc will be getting the results of the biopsy sometime between tomorrow and Thursday morning.

I am told that most women experience little or no pain with this procedure. How I wish I was most women. My fibromyalgia is not cutting me any slack at the moment.

But what's done is done. No ifs, ands, or boobs about it.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Chip's on a roll! 

At long last, the fence behind our house is complete! We now have a back yard. Probably no biggie to most people, but to Chip D. Dog, our nine-year-old English springer spaniel, this is a fantastic event.

When the project was finished, I took Chip out on the leash one last time, and we both walked around the perimeter of the fence to check it out. Then, once I was certain it was safe, I removed the leash and gave Chip the release command. He was puzzled at first, but when I walked away, he realized was free to go, so he sprinted toward the chain link and began to sniff every inch of it while I took a seat on the deck and watched him.

The next time I went to let him out, he waited for me to put the leash on him, and then when I told him it was ok to go without it, he still waited outside the sliding glass door. I had to go out on the deck before he realized I wasn't gonna get the leash. Then he saw a group of kids from the local day care on their daily walk on the nearby sidewalk, and he ran out to watch them and forgot about me altogether.

Third time I let him out, he ran straight for the grass and rolled around ecstatically without another thought. He finally understood that this was HIS yard and that he could roll and sniff all he liked. I think he wandered around for almost an hour.

Next venture out, I had a surprise for him. He'd been given edible bones for Christmas, but we hadn't given them to him because they were too messy to eat indoors. So he got his first one and ate it on the deck, watching to see if I was gonna open the door and take it away from him because he couldn't believe his good luck.

The following day, he remembered that in Denver, he ate his messy dental chews out on the grass, so he went out and lay under the tree in his new yard kingdom and waited for his reward. He stayed out so long that I had to call him in when he began barking at the neighbor's grand-daughter (kids up close make him nervous). On his next venture out, there were neighbors nearby, but he remembered not to bark at them.

It is SUCH a relief to not have to be dragged around the yard on a leash anymore! Chip has more energy, I think because he's spending more time outdoors. And I think he finds this yard more exciting than the one in Denver because of things like the ginormous rabbit that was back there today.

The only downside is that we have no dog door. We have decided against getting one because of how bitterly cold it gets here in the winter; there'd be no way we could keep it from being an energy drain. We are working on how to get Chip to let us know when he wants out.

It's the dog days of August, and Chip loves them.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Another milestone! 

My quest to get the entire house cleaned thoroughly once has been accomplished AT LAST! Too bad it took me a month to get it all done. I spent many many more hours recovering from the effort of cleaning than I did actually in the act of cleaning, but such is the world of a person with chronic illness.

The basement fortunately took me less time than the upstairs, mainly because it gets less use and there are some semi-finished spaces and storage areas that don't really need anything other than cobweb removal. But there were TONS of HUGE cobwebs, including a massive series of nests containing who knows how many spider eggs in the storage room! Dan came to my rescue and vaccuumed all that up and sealed off the vaccuum bag and put it in the garbage.

Of course, because a month has passed, there is already layer of dust accumulating in the living room where I started. But I figure I'll just do a quick surface wipe of each room (ideally, one room per day) every two weeks or so for maintenance with the thorough stuff like vents and interior shelves a couple of times a year. I know that's probably not as often as most people clean, but for me, it's highly ambitious.

I must acknowledge that I would never get far without Dan's assistance. He's had to do all the floors, the entire yard, the bathtub, and anything else that needs serious scrubbing or is taller than I can safely reach (I really ought to stay off ladders due to my vertigo). And, yayyy, he swears he's gonna start shredding the enormous leaning tower of old receipts I compiled in January.

Now, if I can just manage to quit having so many doctor/dental appointments and tests, I can do something fun, like actually having company. What a concept. Except for the few times Dan's family has come by or someone has helped us move furniture around, we haven't really had anyone over to play games or watch movies or have a meal or anything since New Year's.

Too bad you can't hermitically seal off a house once it's clean, heh heh.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The TMI post, not for the faint of heart or squeamish.... 

This is a summary of all my medical/dental woes of the moment. Those of you with weak stomachs are excused.

Had to go to the primary care doc today for, of all things, a prolapsed hemorrhoid. Turns out there was a huge blood clot keeping it from healing. So I got to have it drained with a needle.

Was really embarrassed about the whole scenario until I did some research and found out that HALF the population has hemorrhoids at one time or another. I'm not the freak of nature that I thought I was. At least not when it comes to that subject.

My mouth hurts like a sonofabitch. My gums and the inside of my cheek are still raw with gouges, blisters and even chunks of loose skin. And my jaw muscles are still too sore to allow me to open my mouth much wider than to allow a spoon in.

The right side of my face is slightly swollen. I think every nerve still functioning on the right side of my mouth has been aggravated because its feels like daggers being stabbed over and over. And I've got major muscle twitches going on in my jaw, neck and head.

This has given me a major flare. Today was the first time I left the house since Tuesday, and I felt weak and heavy, and it hurt to move, like I had finely ground glass flowing through my veins. I guess it's not such a bad thing that I missed aquacise Wednesday and today because I simply do not possess the energy for such activity.

My breast biopsy is Monday morning. What happens is this: I'll get to lie down face up, I'll get a local anaesthetic, and then they'll use a core needle about the size of a ball point pen to get a sample of the tissue in the mass in question. They'll be using an ultrasound to guide the needle, and they may need to get multiple samples.

I won't have to have anyone take me, and the whole thing should take about an hour. I need to abstain from exertion for a few days afterward (uh, right now that's no problem at all, heh heh). My primary care doc should get the results in about 24 hours.

I'm not really concerned about having cancer as only 25 percent of breast biopsies are positive. I'm more inclined to think the nodule they found is caused by one of my autoimmune disorders. But I gotta admit, I hate needles and rather dislike the notion of having them poked into my boob.

It just seems cruel that a person can hurt as much as I do right now without having had major surgery, broken bones or some really serious problem. I guess sometmes it really is the little things that get you.


"All was well." 

So ends "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". I finished reading it last night, much earlier than anticipated, for a few different reasons. One was that my mouth was bleeding from Tuesday's dental work, and I didn't dare lie down until it stopped, which was somewhere in the time frame of 1:30AM, and by then I was down to the final chapter, so I knew I wasn't gonna get any sleep anyway until I reached the conclusion.

Another reason was all the medical/dental appointments of late. I brought the book with me for entertainment in the waiting rooms. It also gave the various practitioners something to chat with me about.

And of course there were the SPOILERS. Everywhere. On the internet, TV, my local newspaper, and the other day, an "Entertainment Weekly" arrived in the mail, a special Harry Potter edition with the words "Goodbye, Harry" emblazoned at the top.

Not that I wasn't dying to finish it anyway. Every time I forced myself to put it down and save something for the next day, I kept thinking about what I'd just read, what was gonna happen next, and how easy it would be to just become one with the furniture and polish the story off. It was like having fresh baked cookies in the house and trying to content myself with just smelling them.

But there was a point, right around chapter 18, where the story got so depressing that I began to wonder if it was a good idea to be reading it while preparing for a biopsy for breast cancer. My concerns vanished with the amazing chapter 19, and from then on, I was pretty much glued to the pages. I lost track of how many times the "wow" factor kicked in after that.

I intend to do a more comprehensive review for But You Don't Look Sick, probably starting tomorrow after my doctor appointment (for yet another medical problem that I am hesitant to mention in a blog). For now, though, I feel very much like I did when I finished reading Stephen King's "The Stand": satisfied with the outcome, yet a bit bereft, like parting with an important friend. And as with "The Stand", I imagine I'll be reading "The Deathly Hallows" many times over.

So, yes, goodbye Harry.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Rave of the Day for August 2, 2007: 

It's official: I'm back to contributing articles to But You Don't Look Sick! I'm finally done unpacking and cleaning, so it's time to do something productive again (besides, it's a good distraction from my current medical woes). I decided to ease into this with a review I'd already posted on this blog, slightly edited....

Movie Review: "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"

I may add some other recent movie reviews, like the one for "Sicko", tackle some book reviews, and maybe even put together some moving/traveling tips for the disabled. I'm kinda intimidated since my cognitive function is worse than before and it takes me longer now to compose anything. I'm also in the midst of a really shitty flare that makes me wonder just how consistent my contributions will be.

But at this point, I think that even if my articles turn out to be awful, they will be a welcome refuge from the horrible pain I'm in.

More later.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Baby B has arrived! 

It's a boy! Logan Andrew, my nephew and my sister's first child, was born Monday, almost a month early. He's 5 pounds, 14 ounces and is 18 inches long.

My brother-in-law was in California doing military training instruction when my sister went into labor, but he was allowed to fly out of there and actually made it back to Denver in time for the birth (of course, my sister swore she wouldn't have the baby until he showed up, heh heh). There were no complications with the delivery, and my sister gets to go home today.

Logan, though, is still in intensive care while the docs make sure his digestive system is in working order. He has Down's syndrome, but his heart and lungs are fine, which is a good sign. His weight is pretty good, so if all else checks out, I'm sure he'll get to go home soon too.

Things were a little chaotic at my sister's condo as they were going to get the baby stuff all set up next weekend when my brother-in-law was originally due to come home. Also, they didn't have a stroller or car seat yet as there hadn't been a baby shower yet. But I think they've got it all good to go now.


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