Sunday, February 28, 2010

Full Moon

What a lazy weekend!

I took Friday off because I was experiencing a lot of tenderness in my throat from the biopsy as well as a massive headache. I felt bad because we had plans that evening to go to Bowen's Island with some of Robin's friends and I just wasn't feeling up to it. I tried to get her to go without me, but she wouldn't budge. To be honest, I'm a little afraid to go to Bowen's Island... have you seen the pictures? Interesting! Supposedly they have fantastic seafood - the best around, but you know, even though I grew up on the coast I've never had a taste for it. I always have people telling me that I just haven't had it the right way, but believe me... I've tried!

This was Robin's weekend to work so we lounged around for most of it. She worked Friday and Saturday and had today off so we slept in and then did some caching. It's starting to get warmer and and warmer so the little critters will be starting to come out - especially the slithery kind! We need to do all the caches in the woods before Spring hits so we don't have any unexpected encounters!

I think I'm ready to start placing caches now and have been trying to think of some interesting and cool places to put them. I emailed Mayor Heitzler and told him a bit about geocaching and said that I hoped he could grant me permission to place some caches in some of the historical places in Goose Creek as well as a request for ideas he might have for cache locations. We'll see what he says!

On the way home tonight after caching Robin pointed out the moon. It was so huge and beautiful! We stopped home and grabbed my camera (I really need to keep it with me at all times!) and headed over to Bushy Park boat landing. The view was amazing!

"We are all in the gutter,
but some of us are looking at the stars."

~Oscar Wilde

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mystery Lump

A couple of months ago I noticed a small lump on the right back side of my neck right at the hair line. Every once in a while I'll get a swollen gland and they normally go away, but for some reason this one was sticking around. I felt it every once in a while and when it was the size of a small marble I finally mentioned it to my physician, Dr. Eads. His first thought was to send me for a CT scan but then he decided to give me a round of antibiotics for two weeks to see if it was some sort of nasty infection. After the antibiotics the lump was still there. Dr. Eads then decided to send me to an ENT, Dr. McNellis.

At this point in time I had developed a rash that looked a lot like ringworm that was directly over the lump.

Just because it's a ring doesn't mean it's a worm!

I initially put Eucerin on it and then moved on to triple antibiotic ointment and then benadryl. Robin finally got me some Tinactin and that seemed to help a little. Dr. McNellis asked me if the rash came first because apparently a rash can cause gland and lymph nodes to become infected. I told him that I've had the lump for several months and the rash for only a few weeks and had also developed another rash on my left hip. At that point the Dr. sent me down the hall for a CT scan. After the scan he wrote me a couple of prescriptions for my horrible allergies, scheduled me for allergy testing and also referred me to a dermatologist.

A couple of days later I went to see the dermatologist, Dr. Hannegan, who took a sample of both rashes and told me that they were fungal, but not ringworm. She gave me even more prescriptions and a follow-up appointment.

A week and a half passed by and I got a phone call from Dr. McNellis's scheduler, Michelle. She told me that Dr. McNellis had her schedule a biopsy of my lump at St. Francis Hospital. Um...what?? I was really surprised that I had not received a phone call from the doctor himself to discuss the results of the CT and now all of the sudden I am scheduled for a biopsy?!?

The biopsy was yesterday afternoon at 1pm. I was told to arrive between 11:30 and 12:00 and to also make sure I had no food or drink after 6am. Being a diabetic I was a little concerned about not eating because I tend to get nauseated if I don't eat on schedule. The morning was really rough because I drink a ton of water throughout the day. The worst part of the day was no coffee! Also, that morning at work was the service awards and they bought bagels, fruit and juice for all the employees. I just sat there swallowing my own saliva to keep my throat moist. It was sheer torture.

Robin came to pick me up at 11am and we drove to McNellis's office to pick up the CT disk to take to the hospital. I asked her to bring my laptop because I wanted to see the image. We loaded it up and you could definitely see a mass. I pirated a copy of the CD (which they ended up giving back to me!) to my laptop and we headed over to St. Francis.

After I was checked in they brought me to get my vitals and then to a prep room where I changed into a hospital gown. A nurse came in to put the IV in my arm and asked me a billion questions. They finally allowed Robin to come in and that was really a relief since the feeling of sitting a hospital room is one of the loneliest feelings in the world. Also, everywhere I looked there was Jesus! I had to remind myself that I was at St. Francis! I loathe hospitals for the most part and seeing Jesus didn't make me feel much better!

Robin and I chatted and goofed around and she took a picture of me with her iPhone

My super sexy hospital gown!

After a long wait. transport finally showed up to bring me downstairs. I was really confused because when he came in the room he said "You going to ultrasound?" and I said "No" and he said "Yes you are" - Huh?? He took me to a small room that had two nurses and a doctor. One of the nurses did an ultrasound of the front of my neck and then sent the images to the doctor.

A few minutes later the doctor came back in and he discussed with me the procedure that was going to happen. I was so confused because everyone was talking about a thyroid biopsy and I wasn't sure how that was related to the lump in the back of my neck! I asked him and he said they weren't related and then went on to say "sometimes when you look at something you end up finding something else!" He told me that I had a large amount of calcification's in my thyroid and that is what they would be doing the biopsy today. I was so confused. If this is what Dr. McNellis ordered why did he not call me to discuss this??

They made Robin leave the room and then they prepared me for the procedure. They put a towel under my shoulder so my neck would be high and visible then they sterilized my neck with betadine. The doctor put a drape over my chest and chin so only my neck was exposed. He then gave me a shot of lidocaine which numbed the area. I had asked several people if this procedure would hurt and they all said no. They lied.

After the lidocaine he put a needle in my throat down into my thyroid. The doctor made the comment that he could actually feel the calcification's with the needle. Apparently the calcification's were pretty tough because he DUG AROUND with that damn needle for several minutes. It was so uncomfortable and painful. I could feel the pressure in my throat and started crying from the pain. I really wanted Robin to be there. The whole thing was awful. The doctor ended up taking 3 specimens and told me that I should expect the results at the beginning of the week. I was so glad it was over.

They gave me a box of tissues and wheeled me into the hallway where I waited for Robin. I was so glad to see her. The nurse wheeled me back upstairs to a private room where I had to stay for an hour where my blood pressure was continually checked. Robin and I planned on getting lunch after we left so I had the nurse bring me some crackers and ginger ale just so I could get something in my stomach. I tried to nap while Robin read but I was still in pain and uncomfortable with the blood pressure cuff on and IV needle in.

After my hour was up the nurse came in and took the IV needle out. My arm wasn't resting on anything so it was wobbling around and the nurse couldn't get the tape off and all the while she was pulling on the needle... she ended up blowing my vein. Ugh.


Transport brought a wheelchair up to my room to escort me out of the hospital. I really wish that wasn't necessary - I really could have walked! As we cruised (incredibly fast! Robin could barely keep up!) from wing to wing I kept a lookout for Joan, who works at St. Francis. Of course I would have made "Speedracer Wheelchair Driver" turn on the breaks so I could meet my favorite blogger! No such luck... perhaps she was out and about walking our lovely city with her camera!

We finally reached the door and I was FREE! and hungry!!! We had some delicious Chinese buffet and headed home. I was sore, tired and so glad it was over, but I'm still wondering what the hell the lump is at the back of my neck!!

Results to come...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


One of the major obstacles that I have come across while going through Mom's things is what to do with everything! People really don't understand just how much sewing, craft and painting stuff she had! I wish the room was more organized... I would take a photo of it all. Right now we have gone through a lot and things are moved all about so it's a jumble of stuff!

For a couple of months I have been looking online and asking friends for any ideas regarding the possibility of donating Mom's fabric - about 15 large boxes! I thought of selling the fabric but didn't really know how to go about that. I finally made the decision that I wanted to donate it to someone who will use it for the greater good. I wanted the fabric to be used to make things that will benefit someone.

I searched nursing homes and other places looking for an outreach program and finally found the Cobblestone Quilters. The guild has a group that makes quilts that are donated to the needy and I thought that was a great idea. I sent an email to the group and was told that the outreach coordinator would contact me ASAP. The President of the group said they were very interested. After not hearing from them for a while I sent another email and received no response. Months passed and I was still looking around for someone who would put this fabric to use.

A couple of weeks ago I came up with the idea to email Joan Perry who writes my favorite blog:
Charleston Daily Photo.
I knew that Joan worked at one of the local hospitals as the volunteer coordinator so I thought that she MUST know someone who would be appreciative of the donation. I emailed Joan and received a response later in the day. I knew she would come through!! She gave me the number of a woman named Pam who works at the American Red Cross in North Charleston. Pam runs RSVP, which is the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program for the Red Cross. I sent Pam and email and we chatted back and forth. Pam told me that she would LOVE the fabric and could really put it to good use! In one of her emails she told me this:

I can promise that your mom’s things will help in two ways.

1. The items that are made are requested by agencies to help others...wheelchair and walker bags, comfort dolls, lap robes, baby blankets & hats, tote bags filled with personal care items.

2. The volunteers that make the items are usually either very elderly or have health problems. They have the skills and time and cannot help others by going out into agencies… this is their way of doing for others. They feel great, as they should. I actually had a volunteer tell me the other day that if it wasn’t for her sewing she would have “slit her throat” a long time ago. Guess that tells you something! Your mom will be smiling down on you I am sure.

I felt so relieved!

Tonight I packed up my Jeep for tomorrow's drop-off at 2:30. Oddly enough, The Red Cross office is in the same building as my office so I don't have to travel too far!!

Packed and ready to go!

I really think that Mom would have been happy with the decision I made to donate the fabric. I know the people who receive the finished product made from the fabric won't know Mom and probably won't even stop to think about where the fabric came from. I hope with all my heart that the items are made with as much love and care that my Mom had when making things and are eventually cherished by the people who receive the gift.

Thanks so much Joan for leading me to Pam and the RSVP program at the Red Cross!

Sunday, February 07, 2010


Last Wednesday was the anniversary of my Mother's death. I can't believe it's already been a year. I planned to take the day off to do something fun with Robin to keep my mind off of things but what I didn't expect was that Tuesday was actually the hardest day. Tuesday was the day that I spent the morning trying to call my Mom to let her know that Uncle David passed away. I tried all morning and then called my sister, Traci, and had her stop by Mom's on the way to work. That's when she found Mom. For most of the morning I was okay but as the day went on my mind wandered to that day a year ago. I did my best to just focus on work.

When I came home Robin was still sleeping since she works nights. I crawled in the bed next to her and looked over at the bathroom and it was so hard to hold back the tears. I am so glad I was not here for the events that unfolded that day and that I didn't actually see Mom laying on the bathroom floor. I'm still trying to understand how the image is burned in my mind and I didn't even witness it.

It's much easier sleeping in Mom and Dad's bedroom now that we've painted it. I really have to think hard to remember how it used to look and that's a good thing. The bathroom is a work in progress since we have to re-do the floors. We've decided on a paint color and this weekend Robin spackled some of the holes in the wall. Eventually it will be easier to go in there.

On the 3rd we decided to drive to Murrell's Inlet to go to Brookgreen Gardens. I have been to Brookgreen Gardens before but it has been years. Also, the day I visited was probably the hottest day South Carolina has ever seen and it was so hard to enjoy the sculpture and gardens. Wednesday was a gorgeous and sunny day with a high of 67! I love "Winter" days like this!

This weekend was a lazy one, which is nice once in a while - especially when it's rainy! We did venture out today to do some Geocaching. Robin was on #29 and wanted to reach 30 this weekend. We actually did 11 caches so she hit 40.

Caching in South Carolina is so disappointing. The cache hiders aren't creative I find most of the hides kind of boring. I would love to take Robin back to Ohio where the cachers are abundant and very clever with their hides. In South Carolina the caches are one boring micro after another. ugh!

The last cache of the day was down this dirt road pretty close to the house. I have been down the main road hundreds of times and never noticed this road before. I started to get excited because I love a cache that brings me to an interesting location. We traveled down the dirt road and I was thankful we were in the Jeep and not the Miata! We finally arrived at the end of the road which brought us to the Goose Creek Reservoir. We followed the GPSr down a path which was really close to the water. I made the statement that this was where the gators live... not to mention their friend the snake! Luckily we didn't run into any of them!

We continued our walk through the woods/swamp and I decided to check out the cache description. Damn! It was a micro! This was the perfect place for a regular cache with great swag and the jerk hides a freakin' micro! What a waste! After we signed the log and replaced the cache we headed back and as we passed the reservoir I asked Robin to get my camera. The sun was setting and there was a pelican and a couple of egret hanging out. It was gorgeous!

After much fresh, cold air all day we went home and I immediately changed into my soft pants, ordered pizza and am now sitting here blogging while Robin watches the Super Bowl. I hope her team gets some home runs :)

Life is good.