Wednesday, April 28, 2010


This week has been so exhausting. I wake up each morning feeling horrible and completely exhausted. I come home each day and try not to nap, but end up doing so anyway and then I don't sleep well at night. I worry about money and the huge hospital bills I'm starting to receive. I worry about getting my short term disability payments straightened out. I'm just so tired.

Today I managed to avoid a nap, which is good. Tonight I have the intention of going to bed at 11pm. I HAVE TO get "normal" again. I want to have energy again!

Enough of the Debbie Downer talk!

Tonight I decided today to post something positive and fun!

Check out Lucas, the wonder-dog chasing his baby across the back yard!

His recovery is nothing short of miraculous!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Back to Work

Today was my official first day back at work. After three weeks of total rest you would have thought I would be ready to go back.

Yeah, not so much... Look at this pile that welcomed me back! Ugh!

Initially I was okay, but by 11am I was exhausted. I could barely keep my eyes open and all I wanted to do was go out to my car and take a nap. I did go outside and sat in the car for a while, but it was 88 degrees out and it was just too hot to be comfortable. I was miserable. All I could do was go back to my desk, turn on my iPod, get as much caffeine in me as I could and carry on until 4pm.

Oddly enough, the three weeks I was off I didn't have one drop of coffee, which is really unusual for me. I think it was because I slept such odd hours while off. I really need to get back on a normal sleeping schedule.

In a couple of weeks Robin is going to start working days. I wonder how that change will affect our relationship? It's always been a struggle because I want to spend time with her, but the only time she is at home when I am is when she is sleeping. Unless I take a nap I don't get to spend any time with her. Now she will be getting off at 7pm and will be home by 8pm. Hopefully we can get into a routine of eating dinner when she gets home and going to bed at a decent hour! She will have weekends off so that will be really nice! Sometimes she works weekends and I never get to see her. I can go out with my friends but I really like doing stuff with her! We'll see how all of this works out. I'm being positive about it. I really hope it will add some sort of normalcy to our lives.

I'd better conjure up some kind of energy soon because this is the part of the year when things get busy! I just found out tonight that my friend Noey, from Ohio, will be here this Saturday with a couple of friends. Also, the kids of my old high school friend Jennifer, who now lives in Colorado, will be in town from this Thursday to Next Tuesday - how fun! I really can't wait to meet them! I haven't seen Jennifer since 1985 and I really wish she was coming also! I love showing people around Charleston! It's such an amazing, beautiful city and this really is the perfect time of year to come visit!

In June my cousin Denise, from Illinois, will be coming to visit. She hasn't been to Charleston in several years so it will interesting to see what she thinks of all the changes that have happened around town. Charleston, especially upper King Street, has really been built up since she has been here. Also, a lot of the intersections have changed so navigating for her might be a bit of a challenge at first! I can't wait! I love having visitors!

As for me... well, I'm totally out of PTO time at work. Each year we get 118 hours (or something like that) and I used several days the beginning of the year when I was sick and I also used two days when Lucas was paralyzed. Just before surgery I had about 40 hours left and I had to use that the first week I was out. The rule is that you have to use PTO for the first week before you can use any short term disability. So, that sucked up all of my PTO for the year.

Being that my blood sugar was out of control, I've had incredibly high blood pressure and oh! Cancer - who knows what toll that poison was taking on me - I was sick. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do because the policy at work is that you cannot take a day off if you don't have PTO time. I have FMLA paperwork filled out for doctors appointments so I will be protected for that, but if I want a personal day off I'm stuck. I was thinking of writing a letter to my Manager explaining that my PTO is gone and could they possibly have some leniency on me if would like a personal day? I could not care less if I have to take it without pay. To me, if you are doing your work and are caught up it shouldn't be a problem. If people are abusing the system, then deal with them on an individual basis.

I was going to wait a week or so after coming back to write this letter. I'm not sure how it's going to go over. McKesson is a big corporation, but you know how some people are with making their own rules! All I know is that it will be a miserable existence for me if I can't take a day off for the rest of the year!

It's amazing how word travels throughout the building when something happens to someone. All day I had people that I barely know ask me how I was doing after my surgery! wow! Someone I hardly know started talking to me about her sister-in-law who had thyroid cancer out of the blue! I just stood there going "oh, really?" when I was really thinking "I don't even know you!" Amazing.

Speaking of cancer, I just found out from a classmate that his wife (my age!) just found out she has pancreatic cancer. She is having a tumor removed this week and the doctor is giving her 6-9 months. It makes me so thankful that I got off "easy" with having papillary thyroid cancer. I can't even imagine dealing with a prognosis like that.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Edisto Excursion

I couldn't take it anymore. After another week inside I had to get out and get some fresh air. Robin and I decided to take a trip to Edisto Island, which is about an hour from the house. We first started out at Bessinger's Barbecue but I really didn't enjoy it as much as I normally do. Both Robin and I have had strange appetites over the past couple of weeks. Neither of us really have a taste for anything and when we do eat we rarely finish our meals. Don't you just love medication?

I love the drive through the country to Edisto! There is always some kind of weirdness that you will see along the way! I must say that so much has changed since I last went there almost a decade ago, especially the new housing developments. I was wishing that it was peach season because there is NOTHING like getting a bushel of peaches on the way back from the beach! The only thing we saw was a truck load of icebox watermelons and we weren't really sure if they were in season so we didn't stop.

Along the way we saw a really cool ship figurehead that I think would look fabulous in the front yard...

and we saw a golf ball and tee mailbox...

Here and Beyond by Mary

and a stacked mobile home on stilts

and a mobile home that now has a steeple

and of course, the Mystery Tree of Edisto Island.

It was nice to see that the tree has regrown since it was vandalized! The last time I was there it was a makeshift tree that was rebuilt with lumber. Who would tear down something as awesome as the Mystery Tree? So sad!

We finally arrived at Edisto Island and drove around and did a couple cache's. It was so hot that after two cache's we went to the beach and walked around for a while. I wish we would have been better prepared and brought a blanket or towel with us so we could sit down and enjoy the breeze. I was really thirsty so we decided to go back to the car and head to the gas station for a drink. I was able to take a couple of photos on Edisto Beach.

After cooling down with a drink from the gas station we decided to drive around the island a little more. On the way out we saw a sign that said Botany Bay and we were both a little surprised because we thought Botany Bay was only accessible via boat. I was so glad to find that we were wrong!

We drove down the long dirt road in the convertible under the cover of a canopy of trees. There was swamp land on both sides of the road and so many different bird calls. We finally arrive at the entrance of the wildlife preserve and were met by the volunteer of the day. After giving us a map and tour guide to the preserve he paused for a second and say "Yeah... you're wearing shorts and sandals... you might want to stay on the path." I, of course, asked "why?" The volunteer went on to tell us that it's rattlesnake mating season and the preserve has two venomous rattlers that are considered "ambush rattlesnakes" so they will attack anything that is walking by! Um, yeah. I would be sure to stay on the path!! I was so freaked out after that and was on constant rattlesnake alert!

Before the driving tour we decided to walk the half mile causeway to the beach. The view of the marsh was so gorgeous and I can never get enough of the salty ocean air! On our walk we saw some cute crabs and I'm still wondering why one of their claws is larger than the other. I didn't know if the rattlesnakes ventured out to the causeway, but I was on high alert - not the I had anywhere to run!

We finally reached the entrance to the beach and it was so beautiful!

You can walk forever on this beach and there are millions of seashells! The rule of the beach is that you cannot take any seashell home with you. I love that!

There is driftwood everywhere and someone (or many!) have taken the time to lovingly decorate the driftwood with seashells.

you can even decorate your girlfriend!

I stopped for a bit and talked to one of the preserve volunteers who was picking up trash on the beach. She has only lived here a couple of years and fell in love with Botany Bay. I can see why! She was telling me about all of the people that come to the beach and try to sneak out shells. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! Some guy actually argued with her and told her that the sand was going to cover most of the shells throughout time anyway so why not let people take them. He called her an "environmentalist wacko" Wow! Some people just don't get it!

After my chat I finally caught up to Robin who was taking part in the shell/driftwood decorating.

Isn't she cute??

We stopped for a bit to take a couple of photos and then headed back to the other side of the beach, which had the most amazing trees!

The tide was coming in and it was getting late so we decided to head back to the car to do a quick tour of the rest of the preserve. I know there is so much that we missed on our quick drive so I can't wait to go back to this magical place that I'm so glad to have discovered!

Today I'm paying for the amount of walking I did so we just had a lazy day at home. Still, I'm so glad we ventured out because it felt so good to feel the sun on my face again. My camera had not been used in weeks and my body was pale and in great need of exercise!

I can't wait to get out again!

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Fabulous Idea

So, here's my fabulous idea...

I've been pondering hard about all of this paint and other craft stuff that my Mom has. I think I'm going to do something that will benefit myself as well as some other people. My idea is to gather my friends who have kids and tell them that they can have as much paint and whatever else stuff that I have (within reason, of course) as long as they take it home and create something for me, preferably a picture that I can frame and put in our eventual office/craft room in the house, which is Mom's former painting room. Of course if my adult friends want some paint, they are more than welcome. Same rules apply!

The thought of nit-picking over all of this paint, or giving it to one person just didn't sit well with me. I thought about buying some cheap brushes, paper and canvas for the art project as well. First I'm going to see how much canvas Mom has in there as well as paper. We have a bunch, but I'm not sure how much we have to go around. Now the task is to figure out how to handle the task of giving this out to the kids without mass hysteria and people grabbing and pushing. I don't want this to be an ugly thing so I think I'm going to do it kid by kid and person by person. I just don't to have another yard sale fiasco on my hands! Maybe Robin and I can divide it up based on how many people we have. I just want to avoid people being greedy over my Mom's things. Some of the little bottles of paint are $2 and when you multiply that by 1,000... well, you do the math.

As far as Mom's painting ladies that contacted me at the yard sale about Mom's other things, I think once the paint and stuff are gone I will contact them and tell them what I have left are the brushes, books, magazines, other weird painting supplies and my Mom's massive painting palette collectibles. I still have a lot of things to bring to the Red Cross as far as thread, fabric and sewing supplies. I will probably do that this week.

Speaking of this week, I was supposed to go back to work today and when I got up and took a shower it totally exhausted me. For the past few days I've been feeling horrible - extremely tired, face flushed, bouts of sweating when the room is totally cool... We have been following my blood pressure, which has been really high, since Wednesday. Last night Robin kept telling me that I really needed to stay home and make a doctors appointment and after my shower, that's what I did.

I saw Dr. Eads at 2pm and told him about how I was feeling. I also told him that Dr. McNellis gave me a bunch of Mucinex that has helped a little but hasn't really cured me of my nightly fits of coughing. After doing the normal listening to my lungs, etc he ordered a chest x-ray, more labs and another round of antibiotics. He then said he wanted me to take another week off work because he wants to make sure it's not pneumonia. Ugh. I am so tired of being sick. I haven't even been able to enjoy all of this time off! I even missed the Grits Festival and the annual rolling-in-the-grits contest in St. George!

All I want to do is go for a walk downtown to see the beautiful flowers in bloom without having to cough, wheeze, sneeze or sit down for a break because I'm tired! Charleston is so gorgeous this time of year and if I sit on the couch any longer I'm going to miss it all!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Perils of Pollen

My allergies in South Carolina are a MILLION times worse than they ever were in Ohio. I never had allergies before I moved to Ohio and people would always tell me that once you live there for a year, you are bound to develop them because it's a valley region. Whatever that means. When I started sniffling during different seasons I chose to believe "them", I mean who am I to challenge the people that live there and are in the know?

When I moved back to South Carolina all allergy hell broke loose. For the past year I have gone through several bottles of Visine and have tried every over the counter medication to no avail. I can never remember what I blog about so I'm not sure if I wrote about my allergy testing recently in which I tested positive for every category and multiple sub-categories. Robin recently told me that Charleston is one of the top three cities IN THE WORLD for allergies and pollen. People in Ohio can suck it with their little allergy problems.

I was finally given Singulair and am now on two nasal sprays on top of my (which seems like hundreds of) other medications. Can you believe I actually have to get a BIGGER pill case because all of my pills won't fit into it??

Today is probably the worst allergy day I have had in Pam history. I am really suffering. My head feels like it's about to explode or fall off. Being that there is a huge gash in my throat it just might do that if it gets any worse. My nose won't stop running and I have a headache from hell. I don't think there is enough medication in the world to combat Charleston pollen. My Jeep is continually green from all the pollen.

At least I have somewhat avoided the worst couple of weeks for pollen. Most of the time I have had off since surgery have been spent on the couch or in bed. The first time I left the house for an official social situation was on Wednesday evening. My friend Carol posted a link on her Facebook page for a local photography group and asked if anyone wanted to go. I checked out the link and saw that there were some amateurs in the group so that made me feel a bit better. I also saw that Joan, my favorite blogger, was going to be speaking about photography blogging. It sounded like fun, so I told Carol I would go. Besides, it was at North Towne and I LOVE Greek food! I was able to make it through the meeting and even delivered some food to Robin that night at the hospital but by the time I got home I was exhausted!

Today I was scheduled for another post-surgical follow up with Dr. McNellis and when I woke up I could barely move. I felt so awful that I kept re-setting the alarm. At one point I got out of bed, turned on the shower and stood there for a moment until I decided that I needed to lay down again more than I needed a shower. I finally got out of bed with just enough time to get dressed, brush my teeth, wash my face and head out for my appointment.

My wait to be seen at Charleston ENT (as always) was an hour an a half. You know, that REALLY pisses me off. How is it that the wait (especially just after lunch) is that long? As I sat in the chair I could feel my body getting clammy and my face getting hot. I was becoming more and more nauseated as I waited. When I left the house I grabbed a Diet Coke and some plain graham crackers but apparently that wasn't enough to keep me from getting sick. When Dr. McNellis finally came in the room I was standing at the sink drinking water and trying not to vomit.

Dr. McNellis told me that my calcium is still a bit low and he wants me to add another dose during the day and he also informed me that the cancer was in both my left and right thyroid but not in my lymph nodes. That's good news! I told him that I have suffered with an INSANE amount of mucus in the last couple of days to the point of vomiting (sorry!) and he gave me a huge box of Mucinex samples. Thank God! Maybe I can sleep now instead of staying up all night - like last night - coughing! During my coughing bout last night I did manage to catch this awesome photo of my girl and our gimpy little dog! Soooo sweet!

After my appointment I couldn't get out of Dr. McNellis's office fast enough. I drove quickly to the closest fast food restaurant and got a grilled chicken sandwich and a fruit cup. It didn't make me feel great, but I stopped shaking and felt somewhat normal again. I went home and went straight to bed and waited for Robin to get home - she was working day shift today.

When Robin came home she brought me a goody bag from Publix! I love presents!

How sweet is she??

My get well bag included a stuffed hippo, apples, Lindt chocolates, Twizzlers, face scrub stuff (I was out), Kleenex (now I can stop using all of the the toilet paper!), scar gel (to help my scar go away!) and a big ass brand new pill container. I'm not sure it really needed to be THAT big, but oh well! What I forgot to put in the picture was the Ticketmaster envelope that has our Lady Gaga tickets in it for September in Charlotte! She could have just gotten me the bag (which I really like) and I would have been perfectly happy.

I have the sweetest girlfriend EVER! Oh! And I just wanted to mention how proud I am of her for getting nominated for Nurse of the Year at East Cooper Medical Center!

Robin rocks!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Yo Burrito

I love a good burrito. I especially love a burrito that I can hold that isn't drowned in a bunch of sauce or cheese. And I really love a burrito if it comes from a place called Chipotle! Sadly, there aren't any Chipotle restaurants anywhere near Charleston so suffice it to say, I haven't had a seriously great burrito in a very long time... until today!

Okay, so why hasn't anyone told me that Yo Burrito has stepped up their game? I remember when they opened their first location on Wentworth Street in Charleston years ago. I only went there once and I never went back so obviously it wasn't that memorable!

Robin was recently telling me about a co-worker that had his girlfriend go to Yo Burrito to pick up dinner for him (and rudely didn't ask anyone if they wanted anything!) Later on, she was pretty envious of what came in this co-workers plain brown paper bag... so much that we had a whole conversation about it later!

All of this burrito chat made me miss my Chipotle days, so today, when we were running errands, I asked her if she wanted to head to Mt. Pleasant to go to Yo Burrito... Uh. yeah...

First thing I noticed is that the Mt. Pleasant location is not crowded with young college students - bonus! The music was a bit loud, but it is kind of a bar location, I suppose. After the server brought us some chips Robin went to the salsa bar and brought back the mild version for me. I'm not sure what flavor she picked out for herself, but I nicknamed it "ass salsa" and was "pretend angry" at her for making me try it. Gross! She said it was BBQ flavor or something.

The mild salsa was amazing! Really, I couldn't get enough of it. I wish I had the recipe. I've never made salsa, but I need to. I mean, really... how hard can it be? I need to put that on my list of things to do. That, and another batch of hummus. I could eat chips and salsa for dinner and sadly, on occasion, I have done so.

I was so consumed with the salsa and its deliciousness that I didn't even notice that I had dribbled on my shirt. Yeah, that's my luck. Good thing I learned the ice cube/stain trick many years ago. Never use a napkin. It only rubs off on your shirt!

Finally, our burritos come and with the first bite, I am in burrito heaven. All of the sudden I'm like "Chipotle who??" Let me just say that the meat in this burrito was so flavorful and moist. There wasn't one thing overpowering another thing (normally the rice to everything ratio!) and I loved how the outside of the burrito was slightly grilled so it was a little crispy throughout. There wasn't once ounce of fatty tasting meat (as Chipotle seems to have now and then) and I'm usually a pretty clean eater, but I think I used all of my napkins and all of Robins!

Robin couldn't finish the last bite of her burrito and I looked at her in horror and said "but that's the best bite!!" She said she just couldn't do it. Although it took me some time, I did manage to finish mine and I tried for the remainder of the night to not regret it. It was a pretty big burrito.

Robin had the MoBurrito = grilled steak, chicken, guacamole, black beans, salsa, sour cream, cheese, lettuce and jalapeno peppers. She ordered it without the rice. I had the All That Burrito = chicken, rice, black beans, cheese, salsa. I got mine without jalapenos or sour cream. I did ask for lettuce, but I think they forgot :(

I'm so glad that we have an alternative to Moe's in town. I loathe it when I go into Moe's and they yell "WELCOME TO MOE'S!!!" It's so obnoxious. They even do it on their website! Not only do you have to listen to them yell at you, but to EVERYONE that comes in the place. Their food is okay... they do have good queso, but the number one reason I don't go there is because they yell.

I guess I can now stop writing Chipotle letters asking them to open Charleston locations, which will provide more time for my letter writing campaign for a Trader Joe's!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Found Treasures

I was recently going through some of Mom's stuff and found these notes.

This first one was written by my little sister. I'm not sure how old she was, but all I can say is some things never change!

Obviously, she changed her mind.

Traci always signed her name "Traci B." for some reason. Isn't that odd? I guess I will give her this note back now to share the laugh!

This second note made me cry and smile at the same time. It absolutely sums up my Father and my parent's loving relationship. They were so good together!

I'm so happy I found this!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Stir Crazy

I have been sitting at home for almost a week recovering from surgery. Friday I had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Eads and I had to drag myself out of the house for that. My whole body hurt and I could barely get in and out of the car. During my visit, he asked how I was feeling physically and I said okay and he then asked about mentally and I just started crying. I guess that answered that for him. I told him that I was healing on schedule, but was having a hard time dealing with all of it emotionally. I told him that people will look at the incision and say "Oh, that doesn't look that bad" but they are looking at it from the outside and don't stop to think that there are emotions that go along with that incision. That incision conjures up everything I have felt from my family history of cancer and now I have to add my own feelings to it. I told Dr. Eads that I wanted more time for recovery so he agreed to extend my sick leave one week. I return to work on April 19th.

Today was the first day that I felt up to doing something outside of the house, but unfortunately Robin is sick. She caught some kind of bug this week and we have been taking care of each other instead of her taking care of me. This morning I woke up and took a shower with the intention of going out but ended up sitting around the house all day. Robin tried to get me to go out, but I didn't want to do anything alone. She goes back to work tomorrow night so I guess I better get back to the usual routine.

In my moments of going stir crazy I have been attempting to work on my Mom's painting room. I want to get that finished so we can turn it into an office and place to put our craft stuff. I've been attempting to divide what I want to keep with the stuff to throw away. I have no idea what to do with the other stuff. Some of it is really valuable, but do I really want to deal with the pain of selling it all? I have had "friends" ask me to let them know what my plans are but all it does is irritate me when people do that. I'd much rather give it to someone who would never ask for it! I don't know why it bothers me so much when people do that.

With this last week at home I'm hoping to get organized a little more. I want to paint the windows in the master bedroom - yes... the windows! Since Robin works nights we have to have a totally blacked out room for her to sleep in. I decided a while back to paint the window panes different colors to help block out the light. I also need to paint the spare bedroom before my cousin comes to stay for a week in June. I hate painting, which is probably a huge reason for my procrastination. I can't imagine how anyone does it for a living day after day!

Last week I did have a small sense of accomplishment. I made meatloaf and mashed potatoes! I know that this isn't really a big deal, but I was quite proud of myself. My goal was to make my Mom's meatloaf and I must say that I came really close to it! I have never in my life made a meatloaf and I didn't follow a recipe. I made my meatloaf from my memories of watching Mom make it over the years. I suppose I paid enough attention to re-create it! As for the mashed potatoes. Well, I've never made mashed potatoes before, either. I just threw some stuff together and it came out pretty darn good!

Both of my parents were born cooks and were known for their specialties. They never followed recipes and sadly, they never wrote their recipes down. I remember our neighbor across the street, Jim, loved my Mom's meatballs (which were DAMN GOOD!) and he always asked Mom for the recipe. Mom would never give it to him but Jim would always ask anyway. One night Jim had a heart attack and passed away. At the wake my Mom slipped the recipe card for her meatballs in Jim's coat pocket and it was buried with him. She had never written that recipe down before that day and never wrote it down again.

I haven't attempted to conquer Mom's meatballs yet, but I have made Dad's chili and Grandma's cheesecake. I just say that meatloaf and mashed potatoes (from memory) are one step closer!

Friday, April 09, 2010

The Girl with the Red Ribbon

Remember the scary childhood story of the girl with the red ribbon around her throat? If you removed the ribbon her head would roll because it was severed at the neck. I think I know what she must have felt like.

Five days after surgery I am still in pain. The worst part of it all is my throat. I was told that they had to intubate me three times for surgery. I guess when they did that they tore up my throat because now swallowing is incredibly uncomfortable.

Monday morning Robin and I arrived at St. Francis at 6am to check in for surgery. I didn't have to wait long before they brought me back to a room and started the pre-surgery interrogation. What is your name? What is your birth date? What are you having done? Those questions will be asked over and over again for the next 24 hours! They take my vitals, give me some wrist bracelets for identification.. Nurses come and nurses go... poking, prodding and preparing me to go under the knife. Next, the anesthesiologist comes in and introduces himself s and then Dr. McNellis comes in to go over the procedure. They are ready for me.

To be honest, from that point on I really don't remember anything. The last thing I remember was being in the prep room and they put my hair in the net. Robin kissed me as I was being wheeled out of the room. The next thing I know I was waking up in recovery with Dr. McNellis at my side. He was talking to me about the surgery. He told me that it went well and that they ended up doing a total thyroidectomy. I remember looking at him and I asked if it was cancer. He said yes. I cried hard and asked what my family did to deserve this and then I asked for Robin. Dr. McNellis told me that he talked to her and she was waiting in my room. I sat in recovery for a while and I remember lifting my hand to my neck to feel the incision. I didn't expect it to be uncovered. When I touched it I heard the nurse call me from the other side of the room. She was telling me not to touch it.

The Demerol was still strong in my system so I was in and out of consciousness for a while. I remember being wheeled down the hall and seeing Robin standing in the doorway of my room. I was never so happy to see anyone in my life. I must have been really high because she told me that I kept telling her how much I love her.

When I was well enough to move around I went to the bathroom and changed my clothes into something more comfortable. Robin brought me a pair of cotton shorts and soft tank top from home and I was so thankful to get that hospital gown off! When I changed clothes, Robin unhooked my IV to get the shirt over the tube and I just knew the nurses were going to yell at me. I'm sure they wondered how I got the shirt on around it, but they never said anything.

Once I was awake, the nurse brought me some "food" for a liquid diet. It was chicken broth that was actually more like a 5 chicken bullion cubes dropped in about a cup of water. It was so strong that I had to have Robin ask for some hot water to dilute it. Along with the broth was what I thing they call Jello, but it wasn't really comparable. I ate a bite and wondered what in the hell I was eating. I never had Jello that left a film on the inside of my mouth before. I opted to eat some ice chips and drink some ginger ale for lunch. I do remember eating a turkey sandwich but am not quite sure how, or when, I obtained it!

After eating I heard a knock at my door. When I turned around it was my good friend Edna! It turns out that her husband, Rusty, was down the hall for chest pain so she thought she would come to find me. While Edna was visiting there was another knock at the door and it was Debra, Jackie's sister... soon after, Jackie and her son Quentin came by. It was a party up in room 239. Unfortunately, I didn't feel like partying too much because when the nurse came in to give me my meds I ended up throwing up in front of everyone. Somehow I managed to keep the pills down, though.

Early in the evening I was so incredibly hot. I was sweating and my hair was drenched. The thermostat was turned down as much as it could go and I was still sweating. My clothes were wet and the nurse kept giving me cold cloths to put on my forehead. I remember saying that's what my Dad always did when I was sick as a kid. He thought a cold, wet cloth would cure anything. I guess I was feeling the effects of coming off of the Demerol and it was horrible. I was taking short, shallow breaths even with the oxygen on and I just couldn't get cool enough. I tied my hair up on top of my head to keep it off of my neck and tried to sleep. It was hard to do since the nurses woke me up every two hours for medicine, insulin, blood pressure... or whatever.

Every once in a while there would be a quiet moment when I wasn't struggling with being hot, trying to breathe, being uncomfortable or whatever else and the reality of the situation would creep up on me. There were a couple moments of clarity and it would hit me out of the blue. I was in the hospital and I had cancer. There is now a huge. 4-inch cut on my throat and I was next in line in my family to deal with this horrible fucking disease. I went to sleep "normal" and I woke up a cancer survivor.

There were several times throughout the night when Robin and I would sit and cry. Mostly me, I think. I just didn't (and still don't) understand how "this" happens to one person. When I say "this", I mean all of my horrible, rotten luck. I have asked a million times, and I ask once more. When does my luck turn to good? I guess I should listen to what the doctors keep telling me about if I'm going to get cancer "this is the kind you want to get!" I mean, what kind of crap is that? Is that supposed to be reassuring? Is that supposed to make me feel better? I am thankful that it's gone and that it was operable and that the probability of it coming back is extremely rare, but really! In the long line of things that I have been through in the past couple of years, when you add thyroid cancer to the list of things to happen to me, it should probably make someone go "well, of course!" Is it being optimistic if I start to look at it as I'm running out of bad things to happen to me?

After not sleeping much that night they brought in a small breakfast for me consisting of one egg, one slice of toast cut in two and a small bowl of grits. I was pretty hungry so I ate the egg and toast. I don't eat grits so those were pushed to the side and Robin went downstairs to the cafeteria to see what kind of food they had down there. She came back with a Belgian waffle! My hero! I ate half of my waffle and had some coffee and I felt like a new woman!

Around that time I had a visit from Joan of Charleston Daily Photo - my favorite blog. Joan also came to visit me the night before but I don't remember much of it. I do remember hearing someone say I was asleep and when I opened my eyes, there she was! It's kind of odd following someone's blog and reading about their daily life and all of then sudden they are a real person standing in front of you! It meant a lot that she took the time out of her day to visit! Maybe next time we can meet under better circumstances.

After checking my vitals for the millionth time the doctor finally cleared me for discharge. We gathered up my things and headed home. All I could think about was laying in my own bed. I wasn't looking forward to the quiet and contemplative time that was sure to follow once the hospital hoopla, phone calls from friends and general craziness subsided. I've been trying to stay busy with doing stuff around the house and have probably overdone it a bit. I had a follow-up with Dr. Eads today and this was the worst day I have had, physically, so far. He extended my leave one week so I can take more time to recover physically and also mentally.

I'm physically drained and emotionally devastated. I need to regroup, center myself and find the part of me that grew stronger from this experience and use that to grow on. I know that this... all of this, has happened to me for a reason. I just don't know what that reason is or what I'm supposed to do with this life of experiences. Good and bad.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Surgical Outcome

I don't really have the motivation to write a full blog about my surgical experience today so I will save that until I am feeling a bit better.

In a nutshell, when they did the frozen section during my surgery they found cancer. Because of this, they took my entire thyroid out. I am staying the night at the hospital and will go home tomorrow where the ears of a chocolate Easter Bunny are waiting to be bitten off... throat pain, or no throat pain!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

BlackBerry Love

How did I ever live without a BlackBerry?

A couple of weeks ago Robin was getting the laundry out of the washer and I was sitting on the couch. I heard her say something and when I looked up I saw her bow her head. A couple of minutes later she walked over to me and handed me my phone. It was more than a little wet! I guess I left it on the bed when I woke up and when Robin washed the sheets my phone was wrapped up in them. I just looked at her and said "you know all my contacts are in there..." and she just said "I know." We put the phone in some rice to dry it out then Robin started getting dressed. I asked her were she was going and she said she was heading out to get me a new phone. I told her that they didn't sell those phones in the store anymore. She said the she knew I needed a phone and she would get me something else. I couldn't go with her because we were waiting for a friend to come over. I told her I was afraid that she would get something that I would hate and she asked me what kind of phone I wanted. Without hesitation I said "BlackBerry" and she left.

I was really wondering how she was going to get to the store and back in time to go to dinner, but she managed to do it. The first store she went to was just the service center and of course my phone was beyond service so she had to go to the store that was actually closer to our house. I have no idea how she did it, but she returned with new BlackBerry in hand and I didn't ask questions!

Unfortunately, my plan is with Sprint and my contract doesn't end for another year or else I would have switched to an iPhone. For the time being, I have to say that I LOVE this phone! Tonight I uploaded all of my recipes so when I go shopping all I have to do is pull up a recipe to get the ingredients. Before, I was carrying my iPod in the store as well as my phone but now I have it all in one! It's the small things in life! I sent Robin an email from my phone with a recipe attached and told her that from now on, if I need her to go to the grocery store to get ingredients all I have to do is email her the recipe. Yay! I am sure she was less than thrilled at that idea!

Speaking of food, I have been thinking about my surgery that is happening on Monday morning and how uncomfortable it will be to eat afterward. Ive been thinking of soft foods that I should buy that will be easy to swallow. I was thinking of making some things tomorrow to have on hand for the following week. Warm and soft... that's what I'm thinking.

The whole idea of having surgery and the possibility of having cancer is so surreal. The reality that I am going under anesthesia and getting my throat sliced open hasn't really hit yet. It is getting more real as the deed draws near, but I think it won't really hit me until Monday morning. To be honest, I'm a little freaked out about it and mildly scared. The only surgeries I have had is carpal tunnel and laser lithotripsy for a kidney stone. Both were under anesthesia, but for the carpal tunnel I was awake and could actually feel them digging around my hand. It didn't hurt, but I was pretty disturbed about being able to feel it.

I have to arrive at St. Francis at 6am and surgery is scheduled at 8am. Dr. McNellis told me to prepare to stay overnight but there was a possibility that he may let me go home. I am a little worried about the fact that I can't have anything to eat or drink after midnight and by the time surgery is over it will be close to lunch time. I am more than positive I won't be able to eat for a few hours and being a diabetic, if I don't eat on a regular schedule I get absolutely nauseated. Because of this, I'm going to request to stay overnight. The only time I've stayed overnight in a hospital is when my Dad was sick. I think hospitals are pretty creepy so it's not something I'm real thrilled about. I'm so glad that Robin will be there with me. I can't even imagine not having her in my life. It's hard enough working opposite schedules!

I took the week off and hopefully will not experience too much pain after surgery. I would love to be able to use the healing time to get some stuff done in the house and also be able to spend some time outdoors. Since the Lucas ordeal, Robin and I haven't had much quality time together so I hope we will be able to do some fun stuff during the week. If not, I suppose the couch and I will become BFF's!

It's now 4:43am and Robin came home early. I'm awake because I had a headache and slept all day. Now it's time to go to Waffle House for a tasty Waffle! Yum!

Thursday, April 01, 2010


Our dog Lucas is insane. I think he has forgotten that a little over a week ago he was paralyzed. These days, he is walking on his own! He walks in a swaying drunk-like fashion, but is walking (and running) nonetheless!

When I knew that Lucas was going to be fine walking on his own I would still carry the harness when we went outside in case of an emergency. The past couple of day I've just opened the door (to Robin's dismay) and let him go out by himself. I hang out on the porch and make sure he isn't killing himself or getting into a position he can't get out of. My biggest fear is that he will crawl under the pool deck and get stuck. I have news for him... if that happens he's staying there until Robin gets home because there is no way I'm going under there! Yesterday he conquered coming up the steps by himself!

Being that Lucas is Robin's baby, she tends to hover over him way more than I do. She still carries him outside to the yard and is probably still feeding him hand-cut hot dogs. I am absolutely amazed at his progress and really can't believe that he is walking again! What I think is most amusing is the fact that he now sits like a human. I mean, who doesn't love a dog that sits like this on the couch??

Because of dog drama, Robin and I really haven't done much outside of the house in the last two weeks. We did manage to run a couple of errands and go out for dinner the other night, which was nice. I've been more tired than usual and struggle through work every day. All I can think about is coming home to take a nap! It makes me wonder if all of this (which has been going on for a while!) is related to my thyroid.

This week Robin has been working every night so she can take next week off to play nurse to me after my surgery on Monday. Seeing how she has babied Lucas I think, perhaps, I'm a little frightened! Really, though, I'm glad Lucas has made such great progress so Robin won't be totally stressed tending to two needy patients!