Thursday, December 29, 2016

Book Hangover

Did you know I am an avid, voracious reader? I am, indeedy do, I am. I normally read between 75 and 100 books a year, and some of f those books could break a toe if you dropped it.

This year, however, I've only read 53 books, and that made me so sad. I haven't been able to concentrate as much but then I thought, wait. I should be happy! This means I've also been out in the car, going places, doing things with Zack (he and I are wicked at poker), and in general getting the house and studio back into shape again. So in hindsight, 53 books is pretty darned good. 

And the year isn't over yet,

So this year:


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The Transfer by Veronica RothA Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
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30 pages
The Transfer

980 pages
A Breath of Snow and Ashes

355 pages

My best year, in retrospect, was 2012, when I read 135 books (39,024 pages). I somehow didn't sleep that year!

So once again, I'm going to make my goal 75 books for 2017, but I'm not going to be upset if I can't make it. I thought I'd be a lot more peeved at myself this year, but you know what? As much as I love books (more than beads, so that tells you a LOT), there's nothing I love more than getting better, making plans, going places with Rick and Zack, and allowing myself to SLEEP instead of read all night when what I really need is to sleep and not learn if King Whofurfluffit is going to kill the raging hoards or not.

That is NOT to say I won't have a few book hangovers, but those -- ah, those are the only kind that are worth it.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Never trust your tongue when your heart is bitter.

Truer words were never spoken, yet harder words were never uttered.

I have several relationships in my life -- friends, family -- who can in one minute express kindness and in the next remind me rather intensely of my faults.

What happens then is a complete disaster of emotions. Are they right?  Am I failing as a mother and missing all the cues? Am I selfish? Am I stupid to listen to a therapist (words actually spoken to me)? Am I faking it (because really, I honestly can't faint at a whim or cry when told to)? Am I a waste of time?

After the initial panic attack, I start to think like the educated person I've fought to be. By "educated", I don't just mean my degree from University of Virginia. By "educated", I mean I 've done copious research, looked for opposing sources (and THEIR sources).This is when a scientific background, a scientific family, and a husband who is so smart I am constantly boggled comes into play. I won't lie ... sometimes it takes a Xanax and deep breathing and sleeping on it to makes sense of things.

Now where was I? Ah, yes. Even while venting, I have to (HAVE TO) keep a calm, civil tongue, one which *I* would listen to. Rationality doesn't necessarily mean you have the answers. Being absolutely certain you're right doesn't mean you can make that clear to anyone.

It means knowing when to keep quiet; respecting, even if not believing, what I'm hearing. It means taking the time to not make snap decisions and to above all, not vent in a public space if you aren't able or willing to handle the results (I so admire friends of mine who are able to do this. I'm rotten at it.). And it means being able to accept if you're wrong or if your delivery was faulty.

Everyone gets angry, hurt, humiliated, saddened, and often, struck with knowledge that they are indeed right, but it's no longer important to nail that home.

During the Christmas season, I've found that a lot of people can get into tiffs and outright fights that are caused because people haven't been together for a while, didn't know how a person felt about a particular subject, or, you know -- eggnog.  A slice of fruitcake and a glass of liquored-up eggnog can make things go bad if the situation is just right.

So my goal, not just for 2017, but for life, is to keep quieter when I'm hurt, really evaluate what was said, and realize that it's not always me, and it's not always them. It can be a simple misunderstanding ("You don't like blue? But I bought you a blue sweater!") to things that are deeply rooted and may never get fixed (see every public election).

Just never trust your tongue (or your typing!) when you're in the heat of anger. Sit on it for a while and decide if there is really, truly, a reason to let anger take the center stage when calmness and a degree of compassion could fix everything.

Make your words count. I hope to do better at this.

Much love to you all.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Stuffed Animal Speciman Jars

I'm vaguely creeped out but more "that's brilliant, especially in a scientific family".  I wouldn't put liquid in the bottles like there would appear to be in some, but the biologist part of me is oddly intrigued.

I think Zack would not agree.

What do you think?

Source unknown

Thursday, December 08, 2016

So here's the what's what! And it sounds crazy but it's not that bad, really!

So! Here's my story of what's been going on for the past month or so. Time kind of has lost meaning here, ya know?

I am very pleased to say that the long, twisting, painful Lyme path I've been on for four years (more?) is starting to have an end that I can actually see. My mini-remissions are longer in length, I can handle the pain much better, and I can anticipate the bad days with far more accuracy. I have my blood drawn every three weeks and my levels that kept going whhhhheeeeee on a rollercoaster have been much more stable.  I save my spoons (Spoon Theory people, you with me?) and I've tried very hard not to feel like I'm messing up everyone's life who comes in contact with me. I started therapy and it's difficult, but worth it.

The typical thing is Murphy's Law is apparently a Law that is alive and well and untampered with. When the Lyme and co-infections started to regulate, other things dropped in my lap. My family has a recent history of thyroid cancer and I decided to have my thyroid checked again with a full panel. My thyroid has always been a little wiggy here and there, but then the blood work would come back normal. But when you see people you love get cancer, and your throat has been feeling.... not right for a year or so, I didn't want to ignore it.

I had an ultrasound and I have three small nodes. They are not big enough to biopsy safely and my thyroid is apparently really deep and the parathyroid is attached weirdly (?). But Rick and I were fully expecting, from our first doctor's messages, that we were looking at potential thyroid cancer. And I know that's not nearly the kind of cancer that so many of you have dealt with, but I wasn't exactly prepared. It felt so unfair to see the end of the Lyme road, even if it's still got a few hills on it, only to hit a freaking pot hole with teeth.

But wait! There's more! (And a set of Ginsu knives for 49.99 if you've read this far. Kidding.) I'm waiting to hear back from a cardiologist. There has been a heavy feeling in my chest, like my heart is too big (my thyroid was the right size so that wasn't it) and I already have mycoplasma pneumoniae from the tick, a constant cough, yucko -- so who knows. It could just be the way your body settles when you're in bed as long as I have been. I'm mellllllllting. That sort of thing. 

And the last thing (whew!) is I was diagnosed with a type of anemia (out of the blue, what's up with this???) where my hemoglobin is normal but my ferritin serum is extremely low. It's 5, and the norm is between 15-50. Basically, I don't have nearly enough stored iron, so I've been falling asleep just sitting up, passing out, lightheaded, dizzy, bumping into walls I can plainly see but smack into anyway, etc. I've got some pretty bruises! 

But really, no problem. This has a protocol! I need three weeks of infusions (once a week for three weeks) and then another blood test, but I can't be seen for my consult until Jan 4th, which really isn't that bad considering the holidays are HERE (and I'm excited because that means long nights of Trivial Pursuit with the family).  Then hopefully we can figure out which drug is chelating all the iron and I'll have the energy to get rid of some blubber I've amassed and push even harder up the next few hills of Lyme Road and C'Lyme to full remission.

And that has been my month!