12/24/2008

Getting better... maybe partly sunny...



Yesterday was a hard day on all of us... Mom was so discouraged...she even said to me that dad and I should just go and leave her here...that she probably shouldn't even think that she could handle going home, that she should just 'get put' somewhere... she felt awful... physically and mentally... she had thrown up a few times and each time it put us all a bit more on edge and along with other factors made us more and more concerned about a possible bowel obstruction.

The reality also set in that we would be spending Christmas at the hospital.

This stressed me out a lot... mostly because I wanted to be able to help get mom and dad settled in before having to leave...I need to go back to my place for a while to coach... I don't have to go back.. but I feel like I need to... for the kids... for the commitment I made to them... and selfishly, for my sanity. I hadn't slept much on Monday and then yesterday I came over to be with mom around 2 a.m. and she was up until dad returned at 7:30 or so....dad and I had each accumulated laundry and while I know we could have asked people to wash it for us, there was a washer and dryer right at the hotel... so after I left mom's room I went back to the hotel and did laundry.. then decided that I should drive to my parents house to get the things done there that I wanted to get done... I had planned to leave the hospital earlier than mom and dad on whatever day mom was released and get there enough ahead of time to get things done... but... that didn't work out... so I went up yesterday and the further away from the hospital I got... the more emotional I became... I think that the circumstances here require holding it together... I don't want to be upset in front of mom because she would get upset and crying hurts her incision ... I don't want to be upset in front of Dad because he is trying to be strong for us all...so.. I had some time to get it out... not to get it all out because I am sure that there is more where that came from... but I did get the things done at their house that I wanted to...someone had plowed their yard which was awesome! I swept the little bit of snow that had drifted onto their porch and put down some sand for them... but of course it is snowing a bit today, so I am not sure how much good that did... Some of their friends are loaning a twin bed to them so that mom can have a bed downstairs during the day... and mom wanted to make sure it was all made up before she got there so that when she arrived, exhausted from the drive, she would be able to come in and just lay down... so that's done... Mom and dad also asked me to bring the presents that were under the tree for me... back here... to the hospital... which just felt wrong... I brought them... they are in my truck... but I don't want to open them here... just don't.

So I got back to the hospital around 3:30 p.m. and managed to be less emotional... and sent dad back to the hotel to stretch out for a while... while he was resting mom was sick again... and I was very concerned... I asked the nurse if she thought it could be an obstruction and she said she was going to call the doctor...she did... he came over... which was calming to me for some reason. He felt mom's abdomen and said there did not seem to be signs that her abdomen was hardening... which was good.. he also said that if there is going to be a blockage, given the position of the tumor, the blockage would be very close to her stomach, meaning that she would most likely have vomited within 10 minutes of eating something... so he thought an obstruction was unlikely, but to be safe, ordered xrays for today... she had the xrays this morning and there is no obstruction... Yay! I'll take that as my Christmas present...

Last night mom slept the best she has since arriving here... so both dad and I got some rest while sitting in her room with her. She also began moving more easily and today has seemed less discouraged... though the morning has left her exhausted.

I feel guilty about going back to my place before mom and dad are settled at home.. but they both have assured me that I should... to get back to something 'normal.' There's that word again... normal... I am hoping that tonight maybe dad and I can both stay at the hotel all night and mom can do ok on her own... I think she is at that point... and also, again, selfishly, would feel better leaving knowing that dad was able to get a good night's sleep at the hotel each night instead of sitting at her bedside to try to get rested...well as much as possible anyway...

I was a little protective of my mom since the staffing issues on Monday... Granted... I was tired.. BUT... (capitalization not a mistake here...) BUT... the staff that day did not handle things as they needed to be handled... yesterday the same nurse returned... and I was skeptical... but she did very well... very well... and in her own way kind of acknowledged that the day before had not gone as well as it could have... she commented at one point when she was going to call the doctor that she would remember to ask for all of the things we had wanted to know... instead of only one... perhaps that was a dig towards my admonishment the day before...but giving her the benefit of the doubt, I think it was an acknowledgement that she could have handled things better on Monday... I was ready however... at any point to have them switch nurses if needed... today the nurse tech who was here on Monday returned... she was better today too, however... still not a favorite of mine. Her demeanor on Monday made mom feel badly about things out of her control...embarrassed even... which is completely unacceptable to me.... when she arrived this morning she had a trainee in tow... (The teacher in me thought... uhh... this girl teaching someone the ropes...maybe she is training this poor other woman on what not to do..... then also thought... well maybe she will do better because she is the role model...) She did interact better with my mom in a similar situation... but did make one comment that got under my skin a little... something along the lines of next time dear... let us know ahead of time...I quickly retorted and made her realize that had there been any forewarning the situation would not have occurred and that things were out of my control... she corrected herself by saying, oh I know... I was just making light of things... I'll make light of things for you... or knock your lights out lady.... no.. she really was kind in how she handled things today, but... she's on the radar screen of whose ass will I kick first should the mood strike me.

Mom has said so many times how grateful she is that my sister and I were here for this... for dad, for her... and said that it means so much... she worries about Sis feeling bad about not being here now...but is happy to know that the boys have their mom home for Christmas.

Sis had brought a present for me... a miniature Christmas tree (with silver needles... the tree kind of needles, not the hospital kind of needles...needed to clarify that given where we are.) ... complete with purple lights... that run on batteries... so ... later today I am planning on bringing the tree and the lights over here... to mom's room. The lights may be used to pimp out mom's IV pole... you may remember that after my surgery I had a pimp my walker and crutches competition, so I figured that we can pimp out her IV pole... at least for Christmas.

I feel better today... mostly because I do feel that mom is doing better... because I know there is no obstruction...for now... and I feel like I actually got some sleep over the course of the last 24 hours...

12/22/2008

Hospitals...

I'm not sure if it's the fact that we have been at the hospital since Wednesday... or the fact that it's close to Christmas and I am lacking some holiday cheer... or the fact that the storm last night has caused there to be fewer staff people here...or that I am tired... or if the personalities of the nursing staff today are hitting me wrong... but... something is a-brewing... and someone may face the wrath... today... My mom needs to rest... and people keep bugging her...it started at about 2 a.m., slowed a little around 9 allowing her to get some sleep... plus... her veins are shot... and trying to get a new IV into her arm or trying to get blood drawn has resulted in about a dozen attempts... since 4 a.m. this morning... and it's only 2:40 p.m.... plus there are some things that my mother can't control about her body right now and the hospital didn't have some necessary items 'on the floor' that mom needed... resulting in my father having to go to the store to purchase a personal supply... and it seems like the people who are coming in to "help" mom today seem a bit annoyed...that they have to help her...they haven't helped her figure out how to position herself when going from her bed to a chair so that she doesn't get tangled in her IV...we''vehad to coach her.... it's almost like they think she should be able to do everything by herself... she still has an epidural... still has a catheter... still has IVs... so how the hell is she supposed to be able to do things for herself... not to mention she has an incision that is probably 15 inches long across her abdomen...and don't make her feel bad about things she can't control... you're job description should include compassion, damn it... maybe they want to be home with their families on a day like today.. snowy, wintery...so close to Christmas... well... I am sure we would like that luxury too... I am trying to play nice.. because mom has, in her own way, asked me to play nice... but... these people better start playing by the rules... grumble grumble.
(I must add that up until today I have been very pleased with the nursing staff...up until today!)

12/20/2008

My mom... is amazing... her attitude is unbelievable to me... I think if I werein her shoes I would be telling everyone they were number one without using my index finger... but mom... as usual... is making things easier on other people. Today she had a lot of company... and I admire people for that... it is so hard to visit people in a hospital when things go well.. and visiting under these circumstances ... well.. I think is very brave... My good friend Deb stoppped by to see me today and that meant so much... she has a lot of things going on in her own family right now and she understands a lot of how i am feeling... and Debbie's best quality is her big big heart... and I love her for that... for wearing her heart on her sleeve...One of my uncles is having a very hard time with the news... He was here with us when the doc talked with us after surgery... and this hits cery close to home for him... he too suffered with kidney cancer and has been in remission... thankfully... but I can't imagine how he is feeling... the thoughts that are inside his head... trying to make sense of all this is hard... more than hard... I love that he is being honest with himself about what he can and can't do... I think that we all need to do that more...

I'm with mom in her room tonight. She told me that she wasn't sure if she needed someone ornot.. but throughout the day she hinted about feeling more comgotable if I did stay... so there really is no decision to be made. Tomorrow may be different... Dad is back at the hotel. He seems to be doing ok.. but I did notice his back bothered him a couple of times today. I am thankful that he will go relax at the hotel a couple of times throughout the day.

My sister had to leave today... to make it home for Christmas... tried to avoid the snow... but drove into some bad weather... but she made it.

12/19/2008

It's almost 4 a.m. I got up about 45 minutes ago to come back to mom's room... Sis had been here most of the night. Mom has been able to rest...finally. Come to find out the epidural wasn't working... so she suffered through all of lsat night and yesterday morning with no pain relief. She said she was "uncomfortable" but figured after being sliced in half that was normal... Uncomfortable? Geesh... I remember the pain from my knee... and this has to be worse... with no epidural... after getting a new eipdural mom said she was much happier. She even went for a walk yesterday... oh yeah.. her sleeping... so because she had been in so much pain she had not been sleeping...but she has been able to get some rest... which is good. Dad, I think, got some sleep too... he is having a hard time... that's a given. he hasn't eaten much... but I am trying to keep an eye on him and am buying him food... I think that he is in the mode of going through the motions of things... he had ice cream and cookies for dinner last night... saying that he didn't know what he wanted to eat... I ended up buying him some spaghetti and he ate it...

I have received a lot of eails from people... and I appreciate them all... I haven't talked to anyone on the phone... mostly because what is there left to say really... and finding a quiet place to talk is almost impossible... one friend wrote to me that this is one of those meteor hitting the earth moments... changing life forever... and it sucks... true. very true. I've thought a lot of Rico.. he was the first in my inner circle of friends who has lost a parent... he has lost both actually... I will be the first amongst my local friends to lose a parent... not quite the "first" title I would hope for... first to fly to vegas and get married... first to have twins... first to pulish a book of some kind... those are the kind of first titles I would be ok with, would enjoy...comfort in that... if there is any... is that I know that when someone else who s close to me goes through it I will be able to be there in a way that others can't... because you don't understand until it's you... and I am only at the beginning stage of that process so I don't even fully understand yet... Rico has been that for me... someone who gets it... and while I hate that he has 'been there...done that'... it is helpful...

I want my mom... wanted my mom... to see me get married.. have kids... unless I do fly to vegas and adopt... those scenarios are now unlikely...improbable... ,meteor hitting the earth...

12/17/2008

It didn't work...

Surgery is done... it was not a success. They were unable to remove the tumor from my mom's abdomen. It's attached to the artery that provides blood supply to her intestines... if that supply is cut off her intestines die and death is imminent and pretty immediate. If they had damaged that artery in the surgery we would have no time...

Who knows what thought process is normal under these circumstances.. but as the afternoon progressed we were informed that mom was in recovery...and that word angered me... recovery... that means that you get better. She is not going to get better. The doctor told us tonight that this cancer will kill her.... it's a matter of time... perhaps some medicine will allow us more time, but... it will progress... it's already invading part of her intestines and eventually will cause blockages..or... it could rupture and she could bleed out slowly or immediately... so our focus shifts... quality of life... for her... not for us... whatever she wants... we honor.. bottom line.

I didn't know what to expect from this surgery... and I felt like I had prepared myself... saying that if it was successful...great... if it wasn't... nothing had changed... but it was hard hearing that nothing could help... again... I held it together for a bit... but when they took us to recovery to see her... that was a lot.. I thought I was going to vomit... thought I was going fall over... I had to walk away.. didn't want my dad to see me because i knew it would upset him... so I tried not to breathe because breathing would cause me to hyperventilate... but not breathing almost caused that too...and it got really hot... and I felt like I needed to stand absolutely still or else I was going to explode.

I don't understand any of this... people talk about faith and god... and mom had this surgery thinking it was god's answers to her prayers and the prayers of so many others... someone even said to me after learning this news that we can keep praying... because that has gotten us where? This whole faith thing... faith in what? That good things happen to good people? that doing the right thing is the right thing? My mom is an exemplar of someone who has lived her life as a good person... so... what the hell has happened?

Waiting

It's 3:30... mom was scheduled to start surgery at 1:00, but it was delayed because one of her surgeons was in another surgery... so mom got started around 2:30 ... with getting prepped... so.. we are waiting... Mom seemed in good spirits despite the fact that she was sick a few times in the night and was terrified that the vomiting would possibly cause the tumor to burst... and she was hungry...and felt nauseous. Dad looked pretty good when they first arrived and while we were waiting.. but soon after they took her in Dad got... wobbly... that's the word sis used.. and it seems to fit... he got a little pale and just looked a little lost... so wobbly is a good word.

Waiting is hard.. but in this case... the longer we wait... the better the outcome... supposedly.


insert long sigh here............

12/16/2008

Tomorrow...

Surgery... tomorrow... mom...

12/13/2008

A Long Weekend

School was cancelled yesterday. Boo hoo.... Just kidding. I was thrilled to not have to go to work. Earlier in the week I was tempted to take a day off just to relax a little, but knowing that I will be missing time next week for mom's surgery I didn't feel I could take a day... so yesterday was nice. Although there wasn't any power at my apartment for most of the day... the storm we had brought with it a lot of ice and made it very tough going. Several people in Maine still do not have power. It's crazy. Without power yesterday I was productive. I worked on organizing my craft room which has yet to be functional... but it is close. I need to do a little more in there and have decided to buy some shelves to finish getting it set up. I will do that after I get back from mom's surgery or after Christmas... or whenever I have time.

So... how am I doing with all this... well... when I first got back here after THanksgiving I was a mess for a few days... then I kind of shut down... and then felt very ambivalent about everything... so I reached out to Rico earlier this week... asked him if he had similar feelings when his mom was going through her battle with cancer. He said... you don't know how to feel because you don't know where you are... true. I thought that was a good way to think about it. I don't know where I am because I don't know what is about to happen. Today... I simply feel tired... very tired.

I think that my routine has allowed me to ignore this a little... but now this weekend... it is in my face as I prepare to get ready.. packing etc. So... I am not sure how I will be feeling as Weds. gets closer. Tomorrow I need to do my sub plans and get things in order in my classroom to decrease my anxiety about being gone.

I am not sure how much I will be able to blog this week, but I will try to keep people updated... send positive thoughts to Maine this week... to my mom and our family...

thanks.

12/08/2008

Friendship




Sometimes in life we are fortunate to find our soul mates... and I am not referring to the man or woman of our dreams, a spouse or partner... but a friend... a friend to whim you feel connected on a level unlike other friendships. A friendship that makes you know more about yourself...My mom has a connection like that with her friend Susan. I am not sure how mom and Susan became friends, but I remember them being friends when I was little. Together they did bible studies and through each other developed their spirituality. Like my mom, Susan had two daughters, slightly older than my sister and me. I remember going to their house and going camping with their family when their dad worked as a ranger in a state park. I have many fond memories of time spent with them. Somewhere along the way Susan and her family moved away. She and mom stayed in touch and we exchanged visits once in a while. As time passed the visits were more sporadic. I think the last visit was like 10 years ago. Since that time mom has often mentioned Susan and wondered where she was and how she was doing. Over the last few months I have heard Mom mention Susan more often. I asked Mom if she wanted to try to find her friend and she said yes.

The internet is an amazing thing... I found her daughter and through her daughter found Susan. This weekend Susan went to visit my mom, spent the weekend with her. They had a blast. Mom sounded soooooooooo happy... so so happy. I called a few times while they were together and each time mom sounded more chipper. They talked, they laughed, they prayed, they sang... together... Susan told mom that she was surprised that mom and a few of their other common friends had remembered Susan... maybe not so much remembered her, but remembered her with such love and passion. Apparently that love and passion has been reciprocated and Susan eagerly initiated a visit with mom.

It was nice to hear the cheerfulness in mom's voice. Really nice. The human connection is powerful... and, at least for the weekend... Mom seemed carefree.

12/02/2008

Exhausted...

I have a head cold... and I am tired... but I am excited because track practices started this week. The kids make it fun. I have some returning kids and some new ones. I am making them work out pretty hard, and they are complaining... but I am doing the workouts with them and that makes them feel bad for complaining because if I can do it they should be able to do it. Ha!

11/30/2008

Pictures...as promised

This is a picture of my parents, my sister and her family, and me on Thanksgiving.









This is a picture of my grandmother and her sisters. Our large family traditions begun with their mother and has continued through them.. for over 30 years.






This was our crew for Thanksgiving... minus a few of us who were snapping photos. We had about 30 people this year... a smaller crowd than usual. It was a great day.



The boys assembled and painted lots of ornaments to add to my parents' Christams tree. My sister and I each painted an ornament too. You can predict who painted which...




The tree looks great!

11/28/2008

It was a beautiful day.

Yesterday was a wonderful day.

As planned, my sister, her husband, and their three boys met up with us for Thanksgiving dinner. I knew they were coming, but had been sworn to secrecy. My dad was so excited to have them join us for Thanksgiving and was excited to surprise the rest of our family with their presence. My dad's mom got very emotional to see them all.

My family does a large gathering every year. This year the numbers were low, we only had about 30 people. My sister hadn't been able to come up since her oldest son, now 9, was a year old. So it was great for them to be here. We had a great meal with everyone then all travelled back to my parents' house last night. When we got here the boys were very exicted. We had to make sure we did the traditional measuring of the boys on a wall my parents have in their kitchen. We saw the mark made when my oldest nephew was here 8 years ago, what a difference. They are all growing up so fast.

Last night I made some ornaments with the boys and they decided which ones to take home with them and then hung the rest on Gramee and Grampee's tree. Today we painted a different kind of ornament and they will get hung on the tree later. Mom loves the Christams tree and having decorations from the boys means a lot. I will try to remember to bring some of the decorations to her in the hosiptal after surgery...

I know my last blog was depressing and while I am not sorry for its content I do hope it didn't dapen the spirits of other people's holiday. It's a tough time... but we are seeing the beauty in it too... ironic.

Today my dad, brother in law, and I did a huge project... the ceiling in my parent's bedroom began leaking the other night... and most likely will leak some during the winter. The leaks were right over their bed... so... mom was worrying about how that would play out as winter progressed and she said that sleeping with a towel over her for one night to catch the drips was one thing, but the whole winter was something else... so we moved their bed into a different space. Doesn't sound too hard, right? Well... my parents' bed is not a typical bed... it is a king size bed that is on a frame that was designed for a waterbed...that dad has "improved" upon using his yankee ingenuity. So... this thing was a massive project.. it involved lots of disassembling and reassembling as well as moving heavy pieces... then rearranging lots of other things as well... but it is done and I think it will make mom and dad feel more at ease about the winter... I am tired though...

I am taking some great pictures and will share them when I get home. For the moment... my freak out is under control.

Rico, thanks for your note...

11/26/2008

Gobble gobble

I made it to my parents house last evening. It is nice to be here. I am looking forward to all the holiday festivities... today was filled with cooking, gaming, and tree put upping... It was also filled with a lot of underlying stress/anxiety... there is a lot going on.

My mom has to have another surgery. I mentioned that in an earlier blog. We got the date today... Dec. 17. Three weeks from today.

It's something that I know needs to happen... and for her, she needs to see if it can help... She talked to me yesterday about it and said.. that she had been praying, along with many others, for God to help her. She thinks maybe this is an opportunity God is providing... the surgery options are a.) they open her up and close her back up without doing anything- like before... b.) they can remove this thing that is inside of her by peeling it away from all of the things it has begun attaching itself to... which apparently is an option now because of its liquified status...

Without surgery this thing is going to continue to grow... and push her other organs around and possibly damage them...it could burst...which her doctor described as resulting in a massive planting of cancer seeds throughout her body... it could also rupture during surgery... but the docs say that is a more controlled situation and would be better than bursting in other circumstances...

there's another possibilities which nobody has said out loud yet... my fear... that she won't survive the surgery... that this may not only be my last Thanksgiving with my mom, but perhaps my last holiday.

I feel guilty for having that thought... I am supposed to have hope, right? I do have hope... but the fear I have is far outweighing the hope... and that adds to my fear...what if my fear and lack of hope sends the wrong message to the universe and takes away some of the good energy people are putting out there for mom...

I hate this... for her... for dad... for her friends... for my nephews... for my sister... and for me... I hate this. I HATE THIS.

Tomorrow will be a hard day... it will be hard to enjoy it all without cosciously taking those pictures for my mind... to hold onto as memories that I know I may need desperately. But... it will also have beauty.. because we are together and that was something that was not a given back in March when this all started... and really... as cliche as it is.. we don't know from year to year who will be present or absent, a nicer way to say alive or dead, at holidays... for other reasons...besides cancer... so.. I will get through it... somehow.

There are a lot of things to be thankful for this year. But... it's hard for me to feel thankful.

11/24/2008

Staff Development.

I am sitting in a staff development meeting... AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

11/22/2008

Updated Pictures

Ok... so I decided to take some pictures of my scars today because I haven't done so in a long time... I do think that there is a big difference... remember... if you don't like gross scars.. don't look... I am going to put up a series of pictures from the worst until now... to show the progression of the healing...

Here's the front:
July 2007













August 2007








Feb. 7, 2008









Sept. 13, 2008












November 22, 2008







Here's the back:
July 2007










August 11, 2007













Feb 2008









September 13, 2008












November 22, 2008


It really is looking a lot better. The back especially. I don't expect the scars to fade for a very long time. I scar easily and the scars tend to be very pink on me for a long time. But, it is cool to see the changes... and remind myself how good I feel... now.

Hope the pics don't bore you, I just wanted to put a progressioon of the PVNS scarring recovery for the open anterior and posterior synovectomies.

It's COLD!

I had to work at the toll booth today... and several people asked me, "Is it cold in there?" Well folks, the booths are heated, but... it cools off fast when the door is open taking people's tolls or carrying on a conversation... so.... I did get cold today, but it was tolerable. I do think I will take a hot shower before long to get warmed up. It was a decent day, my lane was pretty busy and I like it that way. After work I ran some errands. My parents had asked me to bring a few things up to them when I come... they live in a place where it can be difficult to find certain things... their town is very small, so they can't find things up there all the time. They could find it in a town about 45 minutes from them, but since I am coming up, it will save them a trip. But running around tonight was cold. I broke one of my rules too. I usually refuse to go near the mall after Halloween because it gets so crazy over there... but it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. I also ran into a few people I knew, but it was too cold to stand around and have a conversation.

I am so excited about Thanksgiving. It is nice to spend time with family and friends. Tomorrow I am working again, but then I will be heading to a friends house for a Thanksgiving dinner. It will be nice. It was funny, she and her daughter actually came through my toll today. Her daughter looked so cute! I will try to take some pictures tomorrow of the pre thanksgiving Thanksgiving!

11/19/2008

Kids...


I have to say that I really like the kids I have this year... I like all the kids I have worked with, but this year I have lots of favorites. Too many to share... but there is one kid who is in one of my math classes. Everything is hard for him... everything... when he physically leaves school, he mentally leaves school. He 'forgets' to do assignments and I believe it is because it is so hard for him that he has learned to separate his life outside of school which I think he feels good about, and his life at school, which he knows he struggles with... anyway... the last two days in class he has done so well... we are adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators and he is getting it... truly getting it! He is so proud of himself and has been telling everyone that he is a great math student. It's great! Another kid... makes up nicknames for people and depending on how much he likes you, the more often your nickname changes... we have had some fun exchanges. Recently, in one of my math classes, I had the kids practice their multiplication facts on this website called www.freerice.com. For every problem the kids get right, 20 grains of rice is donated to people in the world who need it. He is so addicted to that site, so I am now calling him "stir fry." He likes it. I enjoy him a lot. Then there is the girl who I am so worried about. She has anxiety higher than any student I have ever worked with... if things don't change I think she would be at high risk for suicide as a high school or college student. We are working on some daily things to try to help that and while we have only been implementing them for a couple of days, I think it helps her. She is a perfectionist and her anxiety relates mostly to academics. So in the morning she and I meet and set a non academic goal for the day and she also has to say something positive about herself to start the day. This is hard for her. We also try to predict possible successes for the day and possible events that could cause anxiety, like a test or a specific teacher, etc. We write down some strategies for how to deal with those situations as they arise. Then mid day we touch base about her goal and about her level of anxiety. We meet again at the end of the day and discuss how her day was, what she needs to do at night, and she has to say something that she did well during the day. Today she was happy that she didn't completely fall apart when a teacher reprimanded her.... This kid has talked to me a lot about her anxiety and how much she wants help, wants to feel better. When I started introducing strategies for us to use, I swear she wanted to just hold onto something that may make her feel better. I can't imagine having that level of anxiety as a kid... I was so lucky. Another kid that i have is an interesting character... I think that this student is struggling with some gender identity/sexual orientation issues, but I don't think that this student even realizes that this student's mood and depression is because of those issues... but I think that realization will happen soon. Another kiddo is one that reminds me of me... he is a big kid, bigger than all of his peers and even kids who are older than he is. There are a lot of issues with him, but...he is making some really bad choices...so I gotta do something. I think that when he skipped out on lunch detention with me and I went to the cafeteria and sat with him in front of his friends was a good first step. (He was mortified!) Another kid wants to be more independent and move away from special education a little bit... and I think that's a good thing... then there is this other kid that cracks me up... he is all about trucks and 4 wheelers and today had found a truck that he wants to buy. (He is 13.) He thinks it's awesome and asked my opinion on it... too funny!

I do love what I do... I love getting to know the kids and seeing what makes them tick. Today was a good day... even though it was hectic... I felt like my math kids were really understanding the math today... and I feel that I am at the point where I know my kids... it always takes me a while to know them, but I feel like that initial getting to know them phase is over. Thankfully!

It was a good day. Why the elephant picture? Because I saw it and it made me smile.

11/18/2008

Cheers!

This is my friend Sue and I at one of our favorite local spots... we were out with some of our friends, Sheila and Jim. We were out to celebrate the completion of a class that Sheila had finished recently. It was fun. We have a good time there, at that restaurant. It is a Mexican restaurant and the men who work there refer to themselves as The Mexicans... so if I refer to them in that way it is because they have referred to themselves in that way... They are fun... and somehow I have earned some kind honor there... they enjoy my height... love to ask for/receive hugs and no matter how many times I go there, they are equally impressed. Last time I was there they asked to take my picture with a few of the waiters to send home to Mexico to show their families. I didn't mind.. but tonight I took my camera to repay the favor. However the one shot of me and one of them is very blurry... but I will post it anyway... they love it... it'e entertaining. Plus... the margaritas are magical... I am not kidding. They are powerful.... in many ways... It's good to be within walking distance of a place like that.

Anyway... life has been a little strange for me lately... I have been in some kind of funk... the kind where I can't even really identify it... sometimes I have felt lonely... and selfish for some of the thoughts that I have had... I know life is about perspective and choosing your attitude.. blah blah blah... I do believe in that.. but.. I have to say that... it's hard... and I am just gonna put it out there... sometimes it sucks to be single. Shit happens and who do I got? Really...

I have people in my life, yes... but... all the people I got... have other people too... I'm nobody's number 1. I want to be somebody's number 1. Bottom line. And...for the record... this is not a topic for a live discussion, period... it's just been in my head and I needed it out of my head...

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the people I have in my life. I am blessed to have them. But... there is still something missing...

Anyway...in other news...

Today was the first meeting for the team that I coach. We met briefly after school with the girls who are interested in participating on the track team. The numbers were less impressive than we had hoped, but... maybe we can recruit a few more by the time the season officially begins. I am looking forward to it. It was nice to see the girls who are returning for another season and it was nice that they were excited to see me. I teach at a middle school and coach at the high school, so I get to coach kids that I don't see throughout the day. (I do coach middle school too, but not this season.)

Cheers...

11/17/2008

Still Here..

Hello...
I am still here... been really busy. Lots to do before turkey Day... Will write more soon... promise.

11/14/2008

Which shoe will drop next?

Just when you start to be comfortable with uncomfortable circumstances, crap happens... My mom had a doctor's appointment yesterday and I am still processing it all... I am not sure how to react... but my anxiety has increased since yesterday. (For the record, it is never nonexistent.) Apparently in addition to a massive tumor being attached to her kidney, there is now also a cyst. I am unsure if the cyst is attached to her kidney, to the tumor, or to both... I am not sure if the tumor is encapsulated by the cyst... and I am not sure my parents know at this point either.. because I think they were a little shocked and didn't quite know how to process it all either... Anyway... my mom's doctor took her case in front of a panel of surgeons and oncologists and the consensus is that the cyst needs to be removed. Not removing the tumor will result in it rupturing... and I am not sure what the consequences of that would be, because I don't know the nature of the cyst...but the doctors are concerned and said it would be an emergency situation. So... they think my mom will need to have another surgery...there is no timeline right now... but she will be meeting with a team of doctors who are urologist oncologists... I think... they may remove the cyst and while they are at it, "de-bulk" the tumor.

There are lots of things I do not understand... de-bulking... if that is a possibility, why was it not a possibility when she had her last surgery in March, when the docs opened her up and closed her up without removing anything because of its complexity and location of the tumor... has the medication made it so that this inoperable tumor has become operable?

They also learned that her medication may not continue to work... the docs anticipate that the cancer will outsmart the meds... so then what?

Mom and Dad said, it could be a mix of good and bad news... good, that mom could get some physical relief from having the cyst and possibly part of the tumor removed...good I suppose, because the docs would get a first hand picture of what is going on in there.... bad...because the cyst threatens my mom's life in a new way... bad...because the development of a cyst means that there is something not right going on... bad...because they said it is possible that the cyst could have elements that could put toxins into her body...

What I KNOW.. is this... this Thanksgiving... means a lot... and... every day is precious.

11/09/2008

Groceries... and sexism?

OK.. So I was going to find some cute piece of clip art pertaining to grocery shopping for today's blog... and I noticed that the majority of the clip art pictures were women shopping... there are a few with men shopping, but most of them were women... so...do we still associate certain tasks with gender? Perhaps. Today is not a bad example of that... I was getting some things outside ready for winter - raking leaves, putting my bike away, etc... and called my parents to ask about my grill... should I put it on the porch that has a roof over it? Should I leave the propane tank outside or in the basement? Would it be ok if I just left it outside where there is no protection covered with a tarp? So when I called home my dad was not home and my mom said... well... you'll have to ask your father. (His advice was to store it on the covered porch... as it turns out, my landlord is going to let me store it in the garage... I don't have access to the garage, but they will get it out for me when I need it in the spring...it just means no grilling this winter... I am ok with that.) Then... tonight I went to the grocery store to use the turkey gift certificate... and after I got there I was not sure if I should buy a whole turkey or three turkey breasts... so I called home and mom answered.. and after much discussion and knowing that our family rarely eats the dark meat from a turkey... we opted for the breasts...then on my way home I called them again, Dad answered... I asked about transporting the turkey breasts to their house... do I need to put it in a cooler? with ice? his response? I don't know... ask yuh mothah...(that's dad's Maine accent... not quite the same on the blog!) so mom got on the phone... (Granted... both the grill question and the turkey question are ones that I am probably smart enough to figure out on my own, but... I like asking them questions and want to make sure that I make the right choices... yes I am 33 and I still like my parents opinions... I mean... they have done pretty well so far in life, they must be doing something right!) So anyway... Dad knew about the grill, mom knew about the turkey... traditional? Sexist? Or... simply.. that's what they each knew?

So instead of grocery clip art... I searched for one about being indecisive... because that's how I felt a lot of today... And I really liked that picture. Click here for the website for it.

I went to the gym today to work out... Today was arms... so I warmed up on the bike, did my arms... sometimes I hate doing arms... because my arms are so weak compared to my legs... but I do feel stronger when it is over. Then I did a mile on the elliptical followed by more biking....it was a good workout... plus the leaf raking and everything else outside was a pretty good workout too...

It was a good weekend...

11/08/2008

Ahhh.... the gym...

So my goal last week was to get to the gym four mornings... I made it three times in the morning before work... not too bad. I didn't go yesterday because after staying home I felt like it would not be right to go out and work out... I just got home from there today. My friend/neighbor came with me. I had a great workout. I warmed up for 10 minutes on the bike, then stretched, then did my legs on the weight machines. I increased the weight on one of the machines and increased the reps on some of the others. It was good... I had to work hard! Then I did some squats and back extensions, then back to the bike for a cardio workout. I sat down on one of the recumbent bikes, like the one in the picture... and there was a man a couple bikes away from me... and after I got started I found myself looking at his screen to See how fast he was pedalling, how far he had gone, etc... and decided I wanted to compete with him... he was older than me... probably late 40's or so.. .in decent shape and he was going at a good pace... so I decided to catch up to him, even though he was about 3 minutes ahead of me... I think he noticed what I was doing and he began going faster... then I went faster and then we were going at about the same speed. I admit I got tired, but was determined he would quit before I did... (Of course that is subjective because when you start a program on the bikes you set the amount of time you want to go...and I had no idea how long he had set his time for...) After 21 minutes I was at 7.4 miles ... he was at 24 minutes had gone 8.6 miles.. So I pedalled like crazy...and when he got to 25 minutes he stopped... what?? that means I had to make sure that I was ahead of him at 24 minutes... and I was... I got to 8.7 miles! Oh yeah! Take that older guy! Ha ha ha... so.. it's not about beating him... well... not completely... it was about going fast and getting a great workout. It was good.

Now I am going to eat a healthy lunch, then get ready to head to work. Hope you are all doing something to take care of yourselves today!

11/07/2008

School Pictures & Turkey

I did not go to work today. Nope. I was lazy. I called in sick, stayed home, slept in, went to physical therapy, then went shopping to buy in bulk. (cat food, chicken, etc.) I actually didn't feel great today. It's one of those days where I feel like I am coming down with something... stuffy...headachy... and believe that a day of rest today will help me stay well. We'll see if it works. This is a picture of Lucy. The other day she was trying to get my attention as I was getting ready to go somewhere and the next thing I knew she was on top of the refrigerator. She is so cute! I am also including a picture of my school picture... the quality is not great because it is a picture of a picture, but I am actually not unhappy with my picture this year. If this was of better quality, I may put it on here as my primary picture... but... it isn't great. So I haven't found a good picture of myself that I want to use at the top of the page here.

I have had several new emails in the last week or so, from more people suffering with PVNS or who have family members who are suffering with PVNS. Once again, I am hearing that people are so scared by what they are finding online. I am not saying that I will never deal with PVNS again...I AM saying that right now, I feel good, and am PVNS free... and I am more cognisant of my body and how it feels.

I had physical therapy today for the pain I have been having in my foot... it is unrelated to PVNS... mostly... but they did say today at PT that chances are having knee problems exacerbated my feet problems, just as feet problems exacerbate knee problems.... so... if I have any advice for those of us who are recovered/recovering from or who are facing/dealing with PVNS, it's this... do not hesitate to go to the doctor. For anything. It's real... it is not in our heads... and if the doctor makes you feel otherwise... go to another doctor. Period.

I am working tomorrow... and need to go grocery shopping...for the non bulk items.

Oh yeah... I got a gift yesterday... from the turnpike...





















They gave me a gift certificate for $25 towards a turkey for Thanksgiving. How nice is that? I will be taking the turkey up to my parents house for us all to enjoy while we are there visiting. (I will need help cooking it... never have cooked one...get ready mom and dad!)

11/05/2008

Dance, Be Happy!

Ok, so now I can say that I voted for Obama and am so excited about his victory. I also have to say that I admire McCain's concession speech. (In my opinion, the best part of his campaign.)

Today I had some great discussions with my students. And the timing of these discussions was perfect. Some teachers with whom I work have made some inappropriate comments about some of these kids...basically saying that there is little to no hope that these kids will amount to much. (Trust me, this infuriates me and I do all I can to contain myself... if you feel that way, GET OUT OF EDUCATION!) One of the kids, who is cognitively quite limited, but has some strengths said something pretty profound. Somehow in our discussion about the election the N word became a topic... she raised her hand and said... "i hate that word... I hate even reading that word... it makes me feel.. like ... well... like I am insulting myself even...not just black people...it's just such a mean word that I can't stand it...why do people want to be mean to themselves and that word is mean to everbody..." ahhh... good kid... The discussions with the kids today were interesting... kids get things that adults don't often give them credit for. Another girl asked, "Why do white people hate black people at all, I mean where did that even come from, it's so stupid." Smart kids...

I was emotional about the election today, more than I thought I would be. After hearing the results I thought immediately of one of my former students... who last year was called the n word at our school... I brought him and the two boys who called him that together and had an amazing discussion. That boy, in that discussion, talked about what it meant to him to see Obama even running for president... coming from Africa, this student was in awe that someone who looked like him could maybe become president... he was so emotional talking about it and... also shared his fear about a possible assassination because of race, but... his insight about racism, even at his young age, was amazing to me. So I wondered this morning, when I heard the news, how this young man feels today.

Anyway... I made it to the gym this morning and neither of my potential eye candy guys were there... don't they know they are supposed to be there, purely for my oggling? Geesh! But I had a good workout and if I go again tomorrow morning, I will have met my goal for this week... I will. Yahoooooo...

WOW


A day to be proud.

11/04/2008

Did you vote? Didja, didja?

OK... So... Today is a BIG day in American History. One way or another, history is in the making. That's exciting.
I am watching Oprah and she said that the last election was determined by 537 voters... that's awesome... crazy but awesome. 537 people... that's cool.

So.. I just got home from PT and have both of my feet taped, it will be interesting to see how I feel having them both taped. The woman who is doing my PT this week, while the other guy is in Ireland, was telling me that she had another client who had PVNS. She said she was so surprised by it because she knew of its rarity. She said the woman only came for two sessions because her insurance would not cover more, and that she remembered the woman being frustrated because PVNS had returned for a third time. I hope I don't have to experience that... please please please.

Oh yea, I did hit the gym this morning. I was running a bit late and didn't get there until about 5:20, so didn't get started until 5:25 or so. I like to get started by 5:15 or earlier... those 10 minutes make a difference. Plus I needed to get things done at school this morning so really needed to get there early too... Anyway... The gym was good. I warmed up and then did weight training for my legs. I did not do cardio... I was happy though because one of the leg machines was out of commission, and this thought entered my mind 'guess I don't have to do that today...' But then, I kicked myself a little because I need to think of it differently... I re-thought that thought and said, 'Darn, I don't GET to do that today." So I went upstairs and did an alternate exercise to work those same muscles. I will go again tomorrow morning... although it may be tricky with my feet being taped... I am supposed to keep my feet dry while taped... so either I go in the morning, come home and shower here with bags on my feet... that will take more time....or go to the gym in the afternoon... but I really want to go in the morning... so I will have to let you know how it goes. Oh, a clarification on a post in which I referred to my OLD eye candy guy.. I meant the guy I previously looked at as my eye candy... not a hunky man who is significantly older than me.... and... for the record, one of my possible new eye candy guy was at the gym this morning... he might get my vote... ha ha...

So today, you don't HAVE to vote... you GET to vote! Do it!

11/03/2008

Vote Tomorrow

So tomorrow is the big day... history will be made... one way or another... but hopefully the correct way! My school had a mock election today and the results had Obama winning as president. Does that reflect the community in which my school is located? maybe. I was a bit surprised... thinking that the community was more conservative.

Interesting stuff... politics... divides people.

Anyway... I went to the gym this morning. It felt good to get there early. I was happy to get it done. I will go again tomorrow morning. I am scoping out some new eye candy... and today saw old eye candy guy...such a shame... but... this mornings workout was good... I did my arms. My arms are so much weaker than my legs... it makes me crazy. Tomorrow I get to do my leg workout... my favorite! I think its because I feel like my legs are strong and I like feeling stronger... while doing my arms makes me feel stronger in the long term... when I struggle to do the arms... I realize how weak I am... I am tired today but a good tired... productive tired.

My students met roadrunner balloon guy today. They were excited. I told them an edited version of the story... that didn't involve being at a bar... but a restaurant instead. One girl, a little 6th grader, asked me if I was given the roadrunner because the guy had a crush on me... I laughed and said I didn't thinkn so... and she proceeded to tell me it probably was the reason because "You are cute, you know, Miss [teacher]." That kid gets an A!

Oh yeah... other big news... I wore heels today... all day... and felt fine. I go back to PT tomorrow and hope to get my foot taped again. And that massage...

anyway... get to the polls and VOTE!

11/01/2008

A day of work, time with friends, magic, and ..the road runner?

Ok... So today was quite a day... I worked on the turnpike today and it was an ok day... nothing big... then I came home and got together with my friends Kris and Sue. We had dinner at Sue's then went in town to have a girls' night out. We landed at one of our favorite places... the place where Sara and I have had many adventures... and while it seemed that the night was going to be low key... events began unfolding... and we had a blast.

We sat at the end of a table already occupied by a few guys...but they are not important characters in this story. As we were sitting two guys pulled bar stools (the twisting kind) over near where we were seated... one of the guys started spinning in his chair and somehow we ended up in conversation... I thought that they were going to beat me at my own game of making up stories about themselves....(I may have once told someone that I was a championship log roller... or maybe a lawn tractor race champ....) because they told us that they were magicians...they said that they do a weekly show and also do other entertaining like make balloon figures... in fact one of them had created a five foot tall road runner being ridden by Wile E. Coyote. So... in believing they were BSing us... I was about to tell them I was an acrobat, they started to show us a magic trick.

AS it turns out these two were magicians... the balloon artist/magician asked me if I had a 5 foot tall road runner balloon, if I would walk through the bar carrying it as I left... I said that I was... because it really would not create any more of a scene than I do walking by myself... (because of my height... plus tonight I was wearing my heels!) I was sitting down at the time so had to explain a little to them... but anyway... while the other guy was showing us these amazing card tricks, the balloon man left and returned with the balloon figure. OMG... this thing is awesome... and he gave it to me.

How cool is that... here is a picture of me with the balloon figure...

It was fun... several people came over to ask about the road runner and people were pretty jealous that it had been given to me. I heard the guy say that if he had made it for a party or something, he would charge $75 for it!!! Whoa!! So... we had some fun with them and their tricks and I got their cards because they say that they have some magic tricks that I could use to teach math.. how cool is that? SO when we left.. the bar had become very crowded... very... so much so that in order to get the road runner out of there, I had to hold it up over my head... (If you think this didn't get attention, you are nuts!) And... while holding the road runner over my head and walking through the crowded bar... I felt like I was at the Macy's Day Parade with one of those giant balloons!

I am also posting a pic that I took with the camera tonight using the timer to show you just how tall this thing is... compared to me... so that you get an idea of what I would look like carrying this thing through a crowded bar... Trust me, you need the visual!

Oh my goodness... we had some good laughs... good times!

10/31/2008

BEAUTIFUL Movie

The last movie I saw in the theater was Sex and the City... until tonight. Tonight I went to the movies in lieu of Halloween festivities... and saw one of the most beautiful, touching movies I have seen in a LOOONG time... It was... beautiful... that's the only word I can use to describe this film... beautiful... A story of needing to be loved... just beautiful. I will buy this movie when it becomes available. Go see it.

10/28/2008

Something new to worry about...

I went to physical therapy today... and had a very nice deep tissue massage in my calf muscles. I am happy to know there is more of that in my future! I also had my left foot taped in a way that is supposed to give support to my non existing arches... but... my appointment was right after work... and I wore the same sneakers all day... so I was a little self conscious about whether or not my feet would be stinking from the day... before my appointment I changed my socks... but the PT guy had me take shoes and socks off to do the massage and tape job... so... either they didn't smell too bad... or... the PT guy is very nice and has honed his skills at covering up his reaction to things... I mean... we all have foot odor... some worse than others... but...having someone rub my feet is not part of my regular routine...but I am thinking it should be! (with enough pressure to not tickle!)

OK... so I didn't get to publish this last night... so I am doing so today... I am actually not at work today, taking the day off to spend time with one of my friends who is scheduled for a minor medical procedure tomorrow... has to do some prep for it today... she is a bit nervous so we decided to hang out. So... here's an update on the tape job... my foot feels so much better with it taped. so much better. That's encouraging. The back part of the tape job is a little tight and is hurting my heel a little, but that irritation is better than the pain. I want this feeling all the time!

10/26/2008

I'm Back...


I'm home... after a great weekend visiting my family. My mom is quite the sneak though... yesterday, when I was blogging, she was 'resting.' (Conveniently during the intermission of our second scrabble game!) Well... in yesterday's post I revealed that I had one of the Q's that she did not know about... after blogging I went downstairs and hung out with my dad for a while... a few minutes later I hear my mom... laughing... no... cackling... "Ha ha ha... someone has the Q!" She yelled! Uh! What???!!! She read the blog!!! Cheater cheater! She was pretty pleased with herself. I was not pleased.. Granted, it didn't really impact the remainder of the game... but still... that's against our game "norms" that are in place at our house! We played a total of 4 SUPER Scrabble games... each of us won 2 games... which is a nice way to leave it... I suppose... although the competitor in me would have been happy with my 2 victories out of the first 3 games... but it truly isn't about the winning... it was just really nice to be able to have that time with my mom. Time... is worth way more than 6 points on a scrabble board (T-1, I-1, M-3, E-1).

It was great to get up there and to spend time with mom and dad... I feel a little guilty because mom and I were so focused on scrabbling that dad was let out of the loop a bit... but Fathah and I had some quality time too... Love you guys!

10/25/2008

I come home to relax and....

I come home to relax and my mom puts me to work... moving this and that and the other... truth is, I don't mind at all. There are a few things she needed/wanted to have done before the holidays and has been thinking how to best get them done. Now she doesn't have to think about it... because it is done. Yahoo! I like being able to help out when I can.. but I will say I was a littl tired! I think she added a few tasks just so that she could pay me back for kicking her butt in the first game of SUPER SCRABBLE!! We had a good game... we added a new rule along with the other alterations that have been in place in our rules for years... we played that if you can replace the blanks with the right letter and then use the blank for yourslef. This prooved to be very important in the game... Very exciting stuff. We have a second game started, but are taking a break... adn right now we are neck and neck... she is about 14 points ahead I think... but... I just drew one of the Q's... but don't tell her! That puppy is worth 10 points on its own and if I can get it on a quadruple space I am golden!!! ha ha ha!

10/23/2008

Reunited

I got my PC back today!!! Yahoooooooooo! I am so excited. Soooo excited... did I mention I Was excited?

I am heading to see my parents this weekend, but I may get a chance to blog while I am there. I am off to hug my PC!

10/21/2008

Foot Results

I went to a physical therapist today to get my foot evaluated... I went to the same office where I had done PT for my knee, so that was good. I feel very comfortable there. I did not have the same PT guy, however... but the guy I do have is very knowledgeable about feet... and he gave me a pretty thorough evaluation. Bottom line... my flat feet are causing a lot of problems... my flat footedness is pretty extreme. So... the knee pain that I had begin feeling.. oops did I mention that before? the inside of my knee had started bothering me, and I knew it was because of my foot bothering me. So... this issue that has caused pain in my left foot is present in both feet and I need to deal with it. As part of my evaluation I learned that some of my calf muscles are so strong that it is a bit detrimental because it isn't allowing my foot to flex as much as it needs to to compensate for the flat footedness... so ... I need to have some deep tissue massages on both of my legs to try to get those muscles to release a little... I will learn some new exercises to help the muscles/ligaments. And the good news? He is not restricting my activity... he said that it appears that I know my body well (Thank you for realizing and appreciating that, new PT guy... completely validating!) and said that if it hurts or starts to feel that I am heading towards pain, to stop or change what I am doing. yahooooo! He also said that chances are he will want me to get new orthodics, but he doesn't want to do that yet... (I have had orthodics in the past, one set that were great and another that sucked... so if I could get a good pair, I would be happy about that!)

I had a lot of fear and anxiety about the appointment today. Fear #1... the idea that pvns may have contaminated another part of my body... Fear #2... that I would be told to really reduce my activity level... and mentally that would really bother me right now... it would feel like I was once again losing control of my physical being/ability... and Fear #3 was that I was going to be told that there was nothing wrong and that I didn't need to be there...and that they would think I was a crazy lady.

So... those fears... make me realize how differently I see things... B.PVNS, (before pvns) I would have gone into this appointment confident that there was something wrong and that it would be easy to fix... but since pvns... my mind... really makes me be hard on myself, question myself... I knew the mental effects of pvns would hold on longer than the physical ones... and this is just one example. I haven't slept well for a few nights... because of having anxiety about it. That didn't happen to me B.pvns... this is just another step towards recovery.

I did not go swimming tonight. I just needed to take this information in... process it... and let it be ok. That may sound dramatic to some people, but... I need to take care of myself mentally and physically and that's what I needed to do today.

I need to say a special hello to a woman in upstate NY, K... who, on Friday, will be seeing the same doctor I see for pvns. I feel good knowing she is in good hands! Also, I want to say hello to Dawn, a new blog buddy in Scotland! And... to another new blog buddy in VA. It really means a lot to me to hear from people who have found and follow this blog. I realize that the bulk of my blog is no longer about PVNS, but... pvns is never far from my thoughts and it still greatly affects me. So, Thank you to you all who follow the blog, and to those who have taken time to reach out to me. hearing your stories makes me feel great and knowing that I am not alone in what I have gone through is nice. (Not that I am glad that other people have gone through this torture, but it helps knowing other people truly understand.) Hang in there all my PVNSers!

10/20/2008

Monday Monday

After a great weekend the workweek started off pretty well. In addition to hiking/working on Saturday, yesterday my girl Sara and I got together to work out and hang out. We met at the gym close to her house. She had switched her membership there from the gym that is closer to my house a while ago, but had yet to step foot in there. So... yesterday, we met at her gym to do weight training for our arms. She has been running, but hasn't spent time at the gym or done weight training in a while and has set that as a new goal for herself. We had a good workout, my triceps are sore today, along with my abs! Then we headed into Portland to do Back Bay. She ran it and I walked... I wasn't able to do too much, but I did about a mile and my foot bothered me... so I stopped, plus it was COLD! Then we had lunch at one of our favorite places and got some important things done that Sara needed to do. As always, it was great to spend time with her.

Then I decided that this was the week that I would return to working out before work... but... when the alarm went off this morning, after a restless night, I decided that was not going to happen. I beat myself up about it for a good part of the day, just disappointed that I couldn't do it... but... I did go this afternoon... I did weight training with my legs, a short half mile on the elliptical and then hit the bike for 20 minutes... so not a fabulous workout, but it felt good. (My girl Sara told me to stop beating myself up and to stop the negative self talk... reminding me that I wouldn't talk to a friend that way, so I need to not tell myself those things.... she's right.... I know...)

Tomorrow I have the appt. with physical therapy to see about my foot. It has been sore, but not painful like it was... so I am wondering if they will tell me I am a nutcase. Oops... negative self talk again... I wonder if they will tell me my foot is fine and that I just need to listen to my body... but I know something isn't right. So my plan is to not go to the gym in the morning... to go to the PT appt tomorrow afternoon, then go swimming tomorrow night. That's a good plan.

I am sooooooooo looking forward to this weekend... I am heading to see my parents and can't wait. I haven't been up there since school started. I am excited to bring a present for my mom... I found a game that I think she will enjoy and I will enjoy too... I bought Super Scrabble! It is like regular scrabble, except the board is bigger, there are more special high points squares... up to quadruple word score... exciting!!! When I originally saw it, I knew I needed to get it for my mom. I debated about waiting to give it to her for Christmas, but decided I can't wait... we need to play it! I enjoy playing scrabble.. not so much because of the game itself, which I do like... but Scrabble is a family tradition... my mom and grandmother used to play for hours and as a kid I used to try to play with them, and they helped me of course. I think playing games is a great way to spend time together. So... mom... Game On! (I just bought a new can of whoop ass that I am ready to break open!)

10/19/2008

A Fall Hike

Today I got to spend time with one of my friends. It was a really nice visit. We had agreed that we would have lunch together, but also do something outside if weather permitted... and did it ever! We decided to go for a hike, up a trail just outside of Freeport, Maine called Bradbury Mountain. I had never hiked it before. When my friend suggested it, I was a bit nervous, wondering if I could do it because of my recent foot pain, but also wondered how my knee would do with an incline. The hike wasn't long, only 2 miles round trip, but I did it!

My knee tolerated the hike well. My foot is sore... but in a sick way I am happy about that because I am going to physical therapy this week and want to be able to show them where it really hurts... so I am going on a walk tomorrow, too.

It was really nice to spend time with this friend today... we met in college, worked together for a few summers following college, then certain events unfolded and we were out of touch until about 4 years ago. Things happened that put distance between us and it has taken some time to get that connection back. Today I really felt that bond; it was nice. We talked a lot about dating/relationships. She is a single parent and I have so much respect for how hard she works at that and how well she has done. It adds an aspect to the dating scene I do not face. She is a strong person... very strong.

We have some similar things going on right now... our heads battling our hearts and it was nice to relate to each other...

Something about today made me feel like a grown up, and I am not sure what that was... obviously I know that I am a grown up... but I think that my friends and I are still very much young adults... we are crazy at times and still do whacky things expected of people younger than we are... but today, sitting on top of that little mountain ( a hill by Rico's standards!) I felt lik I have a pretty good handle on my life... my priorities... who I am... and it felt good.

The view was BEAUTIFUL. I think that our timing was good... although the prime foliage window has closed, I think that the leaves will soon be gone, and it was a perfect day to be up there. (then I had to go to work on the turnpike...)

What a nice day... Hope you are all enjoying this fall!

10/18/2008

Voting


This was a crazy week. It's funny that a 4 day work week often feels longer than a regular work week. Overall the week went well. I got to do a lot with my students and also got to spend time with friends. I had class, met with my book group for class, and voted. I voted using an absentee ballot. When I moved in the spring I didn't register to vote in the new town. So, this week I registered and voted the same day. Part of me thinks that I should have waited until election day, to be a part of that tradition, but in a lot of ways doing it this way was more convenient for me. I told my students that I had already voted and they didn't understand how I could vote ahead of time. They were all very curious about who I voted for, too. It reminded me of when my parents voted.... they would never tell us who they voted for. We always wanted to know. They never told.
Watch this youtube video about voting... it's pretty cool. Click Here

Get out and vote... no excuses.

10/13/2008

Good News??

There is no stress fracture in my foot... it has felt ok today and yesterday... I was lazy all weekend and ate bad food... today I did go to the gym and did 45 minutes on the bike.... I want to try to go for a walk to see if it flares up again...

10/12/2008

P.S..... PT..

I got a call late friday that I have been scheduled for PT on Oct. 21!

I am going to call and get an earlier appt. That is crazy. If it still hurts by the 24th I want to get referred somewhere. So not starting PT until the 21st is unacceptable. There will be some phone calls tomorrow.

Grumble grumble.

Cheers my friend! Spectacular!

Sara and I had some quality time together last night. It was great! We started out at a place that we go to a lot in the summer and we sat outside while we ate dinner and listened to some live music. It was nice. Then we went to one of our favorite spots and it was really crowded. The sox were on the televisions and people were into the game. We fought our way through the crowd and found a place to sit. As usual, I got noticed...and got lots of stares... no worries... one man in particular stood out ... he was standing up, near where we ended up sitting and when he saw me he froze.. like a statue with beer in hand and just stared. I looked away from him at first, but then kept staring... so I reflected his pose, pretending to hold a beer and stare at him... he smiled and came over and apologized, asked if he was being rude. I told him that I was used to his reaction. He asked how tall I was and asked if he could buy Sara and I each a drink because of his rudeness... that was a nice gesture. In the midst of our conversation he told me I was spectacular... That was kind of sweet. He wandered over to us throughout the evening to chat, and was very respectful. He was way old, but still fun. There were a couple of other interactions with staring people, including one guy requesting a kiss, but the obvious answer to that is... No way man!

The best part of the night, though, was just hanging with Sara... even before we hit the town, we had some time at my apartment to just get caught up... I love our friendship and that we can be so open with each other. We need each other's support and are always there for each other. She is on board with one of my new personal missions... and will hold me accountable. (Shh... it's a secret!)

Friday night I had some time with another friend, and met her boyfriend for the first time. It was fun. We went to her house, made dinner, then had a bonfire in her back yard. It was so nice outside that the weather was perfect for a little fire. Overall, a very good weekend. I worked today again, but am off tomorrow and am going to do nothing. Well. I need to do some school stuff and some class stuff... but I will relax a lot.

cheers!

10/11/2008

Girl Time

I am very excited... my gal Sara and I are hitting the town tonight. we haven't done this in a while. The original plan was to meet up in the late afternoon for a late lunch/early dinner, but plans change... and we aren't going out until later. It's all good. I am just happy to be going out with her. She had been traveling for work and our other recent visits have involved other people, which is fun, but there's nothing like a night out with one of your best gal pals. Adventure is guaranteed.

I worked today at the toll booth and had my ego boosted. For some reason I got a lot of compliments today... not sure why, I had to be there at 5 a.m. so there wasn't much effort in my appearance, that's for sure! I was told that I needed to call my boss to report that I had the best smile on the turnpike... that my skin color and complexion were "muy bonita" etc. etc. The highlight of the day however, was seeing an old friend. I had been walking into the break room, building, and someone knocked on the door. It was a guy who had done his student teaching in the school where I work..and then he worked there for a year and left for another position... this was probably 7 or 8 years ago that I had last seen him... He recognized me when I was walking and wanted to say hello. How sweet is that? I always enjoyed him. When I first met him he was so enthusiastic about teaching and today I got the impression he still is. He is this really adorable man. He's probably 7 or 8 years older than me, I admit I had a bit of a crush on him when we worked together, but he was in the midst of a divorce, and his stature is such that I assumed that my height would be intimidating to him. My thoughts on that have shifted since then, but...i don't know... He is such a good guy. I remember how good he was with the kids and how excited they always were to go to his class. He would set up mysteries for the kids to solve, scientifically of course... called " the deadly chicken of science." It was great. I asked him today if he still does it and he said that the rubber chicken has pretty much lived it's life and is now quite fragile. Too funny. It was so good to see him and I was happy that he took the time to stop to say hello. He said that he remembered I worked on the tolls and he has often looked for me when he has been going through the toll booths.

So that was nice. I kind of needed that today... proof of the existence of good guys. Long story....

Anyway, I think my girl Sara just drove in... gotta run!

Cheers!

10/10/2008

X rays & PT

Well... the doctor isn't sure why my foot hurts... so sent me for a xray and also I will return to PT for a couple of weeks to see if it gets better. I shared my symptoms with him, along with a long explanation of having had knee surgery last summer because of PVNS, which this doc had not heard of, though he didn't come out and say that... told him I had returned to being very active after years of inactivity... and said that there was a part of me that worried that this could be pvns rearing its ugly head elsewhere in my body... His question was... is your foot really bothering you that badly or are you just afraid of pvns... I suppose it is a legitimate questions, but jerkface.... I told you in my long shpeel (did I spell that right?) that the pain had occurred over the summer and I took it easy for a while and it went away and now it's back and has been back for a few weeks now... So... doc... I am here because the pain is interrupting my workouts and my ability to go for a nice walk...

So... I am supposed to be getting a call today to schedule me for PT starting next week... and if there is something visible on the xray I will get a phone call from the dr. What does he expect PT to do for me? well... look at how I walk and help me strengthen the muscles, tendons, ligaments in my foot... and if that doesn't help after a couple of weeks then we will look at a bone scan and maybe sending me to a foot and ankle doctor or an orthopedist. If it doesn't improve I will demand to go back to my local ortho guy who helped with my knee. In the meantime... I am supposed to take it easy... but I can do activities that don't aggravate it.. I can swim.. if it doesn't hurt... I can bike, if it doesn't hurt... I can do weight training, if it doesn't hurt... ok.... but what about walking... that hurts! and I have to walk... oh well...

I have asked to go back to the same place I did PT before because I am comfortable with them and feel they would do a good job. And, I feel confident that they will let me know early on if they think I need more tests.

The doc said that he can't rule out pvns as a possibility of the pain.. I get that. But he doesn't know about it and since it isn't my ankle that is hurting I would say it is extremely unlikely that it is pvns... but those darn thoughts creep in.... I will keep you posted...

P.S... it's parent teacher conferences so that's why I can blog this morning!

10/09/2008

Dr. Tomorrow...

This summer, amidst my working out, I had some foot pain... and I slowed down my workouts for a couple of weeks and it got better. A few weeks ago it started again... I bought new sneakers thinking that would solve it... and I have given myself some time to take it easy and break in the new sneakers.. and it hasn't improved. I can't work out, I can't go for a good walk... so I gave in today and called the dr. I have an appointment tomorrow morning... Am I nervous? A little... it is in my left foot, the same leg of the pvns knee... and my knee has started bothering me a little, but I think that's because of my foot and my walking differently... so I think if I get the foot thing figured out the knee will be ok... I would be a liar if I didn't say that the thought of pvns attacking another part of my body wasn't a concern... but I feel that the pain is across the top of my foot...and since pvns is a joint thing, I am pretty sure it's not something that major.

So ... we'll see what happens.

Tonight was parent teacher conferences... I had organized a potluck dinner for people who were interested... which ended up being about a dozen of us... I spent a lot of time getting things ready and I am glad I did. It was fun. The people that chose to participate are great people with positive energy.

I am looking forward to a long weekend. I do have to work a little, but will also be relaxing a lot!

I will keep you posted on my foot.

10/06/2008

Setting Goals


In July, (Just after my pvns free news) my friend Sara and I had a great discussion about being healthy... and we re-committed ourselves to taking care of ourselves and each other. We have done really well with that. On Sunday, Sara met her first goal, which was to run a half marathon. that's her in that picture at the end of the race. Originally her goal was to finish it... but as she trained and realized she could run that distance, she decided to set a time goal for herself. She set the goal and yesterday she met that goal! Is she awesome or what? She does want to complete an entire marathon, but wanted to do this first to see if she really wants to do a marathon... and she does! She said she was glad she didn't have to run it yesterday, but said she felt like she was well trained for this race and thinks with more training she could do a full marathon...

Sara is the second person I am close to who has run a race of that caliber... My sister has run an entire marathon! I was there when she ran and was so proud of her. I saw how hard it was and know that I could not do it... I don't say that lightly... I have no desire to run that far, partly because of my knee but mostly because psychologically I don't think I am that tough... My sister did it and I have so much respect for that. 26.2 miles... wow... and Sara will do that someday too.

I don't have an event that I want to conquer as far as being healthy... my goal is to just eat well and be active... which is a great goal... but I do admit that having something to strive for... is a great way to measure that goal... But... I don't have any big goal in mind... but I do celebrate the little things, like being able to walk back cove or doing more things at the gym... but... maybe it's something to think about.

Anyway... Congratulations my dear friend Sara! You are amazing and I love ya!

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