Tuesday, January 28, 2014

1/28/14 Happy Half Birthday to Me: Getting Bangs, and a CAT scan

6 months to my 44th birthday today, so my half-birthday present was to go get my hair cut. 
I am a party animal, for sure. 

So the results above are me running my hands through freshly cut hair to play with them and move them around right after they were trimmed. 

I tried to be grown up and bangless. I managed it for three years now. In fact, now that I think about it, I was just growing them out when all the fibroid mess started. Correlation is not causation, but still. 

I had bangs pretty much my entire life, 40 years straight unless you count baby fuzz, and I decided this morning it was high time I get back to them. I'm just not cut out (ha!) for full forehead nudity. 

I was actually pulling on them in the bathroom this morning, contemplating grabbing the scissors and doing it myself when Bob sees me staring at an 8 inch strand that's about to become a 3 inch strand and says, "You aren't about to cut your own hair." 

Well, I guess not NOW. So I went and let someone who knows what they're doing have at it. Spoil sport.

Also for my 43.5 birthday, I got the news that my next excitement is going to be a CAT scan. 

Here's how the past few days have gone:

Me: Friday, calling the urologist, leaving a message that I was told to call today for ultrasound results.

Nurse: Friday, later, calling me back, saying they were normal. Did the Dr. say he wanted to see me again?

Me: "Um, I have no idea. He seemed to think this would rule something out, but I don't know?"

Nurse: "Hmm, I will ask him and call you back."

Nurse : Monday, "I talked to Dr. S. and he said to ask if you were still in pain?"

Me: "Um, yes. Pretty much constantly, but he said he didn't think it was likely urologically related, hence the ruling-out ultrasound?"

Nurse: "Hmm. Okay, I will tell him and call back if you need to schedule anything else."

Andrea: Tuesday, "Hi Victoria, I'm Andrea, calling to schedule your CAT scan?"

And now you know as much as I do. 

I'm all for a little mystery and excitement on my half birthday, but this was not what I had in mind. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

1/27/14 wavedreams

I had a dream two nights ago that I keep revisiting. All I need do is think about it for a moment and I find myself completely relaxed.

Like most of my dreams that I can recall upon waking, it was vivid and incredibly detailed, but the details wash away almost immediately. What I'm left with, I think, is the essence of whatever it was my subconscious wanted me to remember. 

I am not, by nature, a sea person. Open water does not appeal to me for a number of reasons, the primary one being the inability to see what lurks beneath the surface. 

So it was interesting to me to wake from a dream in which I was floating in the sea, tethered to a dock in something like an inner tube. And I'd just gotten out and realized that the waves of the sea were now residing underneath my skin. You could see them there, undulating blue, and it was an electric feeling. Someone touched me on the back and realized what it was, too. 

That's it. There seemed to be an entire narrative that disappeared after a couple of blinks, but that one part has stayed with me. 

Since human beings are waves of a sort, what with our constant physical sloughing off of cells and rebirth of others, our mental memories and emotions cresting and falling, our sounds, at the atomic level to our individual barbaric yawps, I just found this moment/memory/dream fragment to reverberate with me profoundly. 

Waves: disturbances that propagate energy through a medium. 

Even if it's some tiny blog in the corner of the interwebs.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Great. Now I need to bake. 
Saturday, January 25, 2014

Google Picasa Auto Awesome

I wasn't aware that Google was doing this during upload, but apparently it's automatic, unless you go in and turn it off, and adds additional pictures to your album with their magic. 

And yes, they actually do call it "Auto Awesome."

My set of the Castle lighting triggered a number of Auto Awesome versions. One is a twinkle effect:

The other creates a composite animation if it detects multiple shots focused on the same subject.

Once I was aware this was being added, I went in search of others that had been "awesomed" without my knowledge. 

More Twinkles:

I find it interesting of all the snow pictures I've uploaded, only this one was deemed auto-awesome worthy.

And some of their twinkle effects get a little off (note Evan's mouth and the Southwestern shirt far left)

And some get WAY off
Now I'm just hoping the next Auto Awesome filter in the pipeline is booty wiggle:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

1/18/14 Denver Zoo

 Dazma, new mama and Amur Leopard, was showing off

new baby Sochi, however, played shy for a good while

Sochi is hiding underneath

It was a gorgeous day to take in the zoo!

zero tiger activity, I'm afraid

Friday, January 17, 2014

1/17/14 the ongoing mystery continues

look! it's a pretty drug flower!

and thank you Target for the 50% coupon for any Starbucks sweet with purchase of a latte, because, you know, when you're loading up on drugs, you do tend to get the munchies. Except when you don't and your family has to remind you to eat. 

You know, I used to be little proud of being different, or just a little out-of-the-ordinary in most of the ways that I approach life.  (Caveat: but never so far out that I made most people uncomfortable. People-pleasing is still a crippling deficiency in my character.)

Now, I'm getting a little irritated by it. 

For example, I would like to, once, finally, go into a doctor's office and have her say, "I know exactly what this is and what to do about it."

I supposed I was spoiled by the straight-ahead childhood encounters with doctors. It's tonsillitis. Boom. Take this and you'll be fine. It's a broken arm. Boom. Set. Even if the second one was under incredible circumstances, there was no question about exactly what had happened and how to fix it. 

My second pregnancy was the first time I ran into the scratching of the heads, the general sense that no one quite knew what was happening or why. Samantha had to bear the brunt of those endless visits and blood draws and specialists. 

Then came the hysterectomy almost three years ago now. The diagnosis and multiple scans and strangeness of the problem was round 2 of "no one knows quite what's going on. I think they're all guessing but can't admit it." Getting past both the surgery and the surprise complications, though, was a known entity. Take this, do that, and you'll be all better. And I was.

And now here is round three, strangest of them all (so far...), at the end of a week in which I will have been seen by my regular doctor, my therapist, my gynecologist, an ultrasound specialist, and my urologist, all of them will having made the same confused face, the same scrunched eyebrows, and the same "hmm" response to what is now an almost two month battle against mystery pain without much relief, or without any relief that brings even worse side effects.  

And every one of them has said, "Maybe it will just go away." I asked my family doc this morning, "Does that ever happen?" and she said, "We're all saying that because we can't figure it out."

At least we've ruled out anything ovarian in nature -- I now have gorgeous pictures of my two perfectly healthy ones. So what does it say that when I showed my ultrasound specialist exactly where the pain was radiating from, she put the wand right there, and there was my left ovary? No idea. To the gynecologist, the completely clear ultrasounds it ruled out any problem with them, which means the next specialist should be the urologist. I began to formulate a new hypothesis, which is that the ureter surgery may have created, over the course of  the last three years, adhesions, some of which are attached to the back of this ovary.  But according to my family doc, she's not sure an MRI would show anything like that and, even if it does, the catch-22 nature of surgery adhesions is that, to go in and remove them creates more scar tissue which creates more adhesions. 

Per the Urologist, he's sending me for my third ultrasound next week to look at my kidneys, whose function may be impaired by scar tissue, and should the left one be swollen, will require a "function test" to determine whether it's from scarring closing the opening or the surgery spot having worked its way into an opening too large, causing, essentially, "reflux." (I looked this test up and it's either going to be peeing into yet another cup or getting yet another needle to draw blood. Fine. Better than what I was imagining.) He follows this up by saying, "But none of that explains why the pain is centered in your hip." So now we're chasing other rabbits, just for the heck of it and to rule out any kidney function failure. 

Having leveled down on the Neurontin in the hopes I could avoid any more altered states like I experienced this weekend, the constant nagging pain has increased and added to the fun. Now it's with occasional back pain and the constant feeling my hip is being twisted around backwards in its socket. Mostly, though, I just see that tiny little dog chomped down on the nerves inside and using them like a chew toy.  I also stopped the cold medication and the cold symptoms came roaring back, so yet another bonus. 

After this morning's visit, I'm the proud new owner of four more prescriptions: 1) a lower dose of Neurontin that I will take twice a day for one week, then once a day for the next week, and then stop completely. 2) A new pain med that will hopefully I react better to, TraMADol, and yes, even on the pill bottle, it's spelled with the capitals M-A-D, which just isn't a good sign;3)  a script for Cephalexin, for the continuing cold symptoms since it's going on three weeks now; and 4) more Vicodin since I managed to use up the first round when I cut back on the Neurontin and we're really not even sure the TraMADol is going to help. 

When I looked up TraMADol, I got this from Google:

So if it doesn't work and she then prescribes Flexenil (I'm not even going to try and type out the generic), I'll suspect she's friends with Google, too.

One week ago, I was a basket case, quite certain I was destined for the mental hospital, so the absence of any more illogical emotional storms seems to suggest it was indeed the Neurontin, which effectively alters brain chemistry, and that I'd be better of with some other form of pain medication while we continue to try and sort out the root cause of the pain. Whether the new stuff works better, doesn't work at all, or sends me straight over the edge remains to be seen. If it's either of the latter two, it'll be back to the drawing board for pain management. 

I am sincerely in awe of people I know who have dealt for years with chronic pain and slow/murky diagnoses. Just these couple of months have me frustrated beyond belief. Next week will be the third ultrasound, possible "kidney function" test, my therapist, a follow-up with  my regular doc that I might possibly be able to do by phone, and a follow-up scheduled last month with the surgeon that I'm cancelling on Monday because, really, what IS the point. 

I am also deeply grateful for health insurance. This newest round of meds only ran me $34.00 today, and each co-pay of $20 is a pittance against what is getting billed to the insurance company. 

But I feel like I've been reminded enough how blessed I am to have it for awhile, thankyouverymuch.

1/17/14 more moon . . . and a hawk . . and geese on the wing

she was quite happy to pose

on the move

Nope. Not taking flight for you, lady. Sorry.