Monday, September 24, 2018

State of the Hope

In 10 days, I'll have my guts rearranged.

I know, right? I'm a bit overwhelmed, too.

As some folks already know, I have stage 3 rectal cancer. There is every reason to expect that I'll be cancer free after treatment. It helps that I'm young for rectal cancer, have excellent medical insurance, and that I live where there is outstanding cancer treatment available.

I've already had radiation therapy, which was even more successful than expected. The side effects were no fun, but not nearly as bad as they could have been. Also, radiation side effects are totally worth it to kill cancer. Next up, I'll have surgery on October 3. The surgery will be in Chapel Hill, so I can be worked on by an expert. It will be a 3 - 7 day hospital stay. Because the tumor is very low in the rectum, I will have a permanent colostomy afterward. Having a colostomy is far, far better than having cancer.

Once I'm sufficiently recovered from the surgery, I'll start 4 months of infusion chemotherapy. That will probably not be a walk in the park, but, still, it will be totally worth it to finish off whatever remaining cancer cells might be hanging about.

Cancer Eviction is my main focus from now until the job is done. I have a lot of support, for which I am very grateful. Dealing with the medical bills is not as difficult as it would be if I hadn't been working in medical billing for so long. It's still no fun to be on this side of the process, but at least I come into it with a good idea of what to expect and how to handle it all. My insurance is very good and covers quite a lot.

Financially, I'm in good shape, although I may need to pass the hat down the road. I'll holler if I get to that point.

The medical professionals are doing most of the actual work on cancer eviction. My job is to stay as healthy as I can while following the treatment plan.

I stink at keeping in touch at the best of times, so my plan is to post updates here on my neglected blog. Do ask anything you like - talking about all of this stuff is therapeutic for me. Do ask me to stop if it gets too gross or TMI. Surgery is gross in general, recovering from butt-cancer surgery even more so - but that won't stop me from talking about :)

I'll post details soon, with TMI warnings as needed.

XOXOXO

P.S. I haven't kept up perfectly with Story a Day September, but I have written quite a few stories this month :)

Friday, August 31, 2018

StoryADay September!



Yes, I am participating in StoryADay September! For this challenge, I will write a short story every day in September. If I can stand to let other people see any of them, I'll post them here :)

Monday, August 27, 2018

Gratitude List 20180827

Gratitude List:
1. finding the rest of my pretty, lightweight scarves
2. using last halloween's yarn spider web to hang/display the aforementioned scarves
3. writing in my bullet journal/commonplace book with brightly colored gel pens
4. picking up a huge pump bottle of really good body lotion for not a lot of money
5. working on my ideal knit washcloth (prototype 1 is done, prototype 2 in progress)


6. I made an earring holder from a large index card


7. ending my braid with a rag roller bow


8. Fancy lotion that makes me smell delicious
9. Lightspeed sf/f magazine
10. downloadable audiobooks from the library*

*If for some strange reason you don't have a library card, go get one! If you're in Wake county in NC, Click Here to get started

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Five Things Make a Blog Post

Wow - it's been 6 months since I posted here? Welp, here's a list post :)

1. I am tickled about giving myself a cute, sparkly manicure.



About a month ago, I went to brunch and a nail salon with my belly-dance buddies. I got a gorgeous purple gel manicure, which has lasted beautifully. Other than my nails growing out, the polish looked great! The grow-out, not so much. I filled in the grow out with blue polish, covered it all in silver glitter, and used Seche Vite top coat. Not only does it look good (assuming you're into glitter, which I totally am), the Seche Vite dried all the polish in record time. I love it just for that! I plan to report back on how well the touch-up mani lasts.

2. I have all my lunches for next week cooked and ready to go - I can't remember the last time that's happened. No picture for this, because box lunches, while wonderful, are not photogenic.

3. My current La Croix flavored sparkling water obsession has nearly supplanted my Dr. Pepper obsession. It's certainly kept me hydrated while I've been totally uninterested in drinking water.

4. My sodium intake has stayed within goal most of the time. I continue to loathe keeping strict track of everything I eat, although the low sodium practice is getting easier otherwise. While Spark People does have the best nutrition tracker, I'm taking a break from using it. The site is very weight-loss focused, which is re-awakening every food and eating issue I have ever had.

5. I've been reading Body Respect by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor. Is it, as the kids say these days, giving me life. This book is helping me re-evaluate my eating plan to something at least less hateful, and maybe even something enjoyable :)

Bonus Gratitude List:
1. Apricot La Croix!
2. sparkly fingernails
3. roommates who do the grocery shopping and cook dinners
4. todoist - when I actually use it, it's a huge help to keeping on top of things
5. that medications exist to keep my cardiovascular system from killing me
6. having a washing machine in my house. It's a common thing, but such a wonderful convenience!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Story A Day May 2017, story 1


I am participating in the Story a Day May writing challenge :)

Today's rough draft is inspired by today's writing prompt

Sunday, 11am
Funerals always make me feel my age.

I leaned on my cane coming home from the funeral. My darling daughter got took me home and got me settled before going on to her own home. First I thanked my lucky stars to have family that cared more about me than the cost of my upkeep, then I started to open my mail. Most of it was junk, of course. Out of habit, I put aside anything brightly colored that Birdie might want for her collages. It was her funeral today. I left the papers aside. I couldn't bring myself to toss them - not yet. There was just one more envelope to open. I checked the return address three times, I was so shocked - it was from Birdie! Did she mail something right before she died?

I have never opened an envelope so slowly in my entire life. You would have thought I was afraid a monster might fall out of it. Or a ghost.

It was one of birdie's collaged postcards. I was sure she hadn't shown it to me the last time I saw her. I thought about calling my daughter - maybe I was seeing things? I certainly wasn't going to call the so-called "nursing" staff, even if I was seeing things. But, I also wasn't going to drag my daughter back across town because I'd gone soft in the head. If it was my imagination, at least I was still creative enough to invent a really gorgeous postcard. Well, the postcard from the dead wasn't going to read itself.
Reading glasses cleaned on settled on my nose, I turned the card. After an eternal moment, I opened my eyes and read. "I'm not dead. Meet me Tuesday night at 8 behind the dungeon."

"If you're really alive," I told the postcard, "I am going to kill you."

Tuesday, 8PM, behind the community Physical Therapy room.

I can't believe I'm actually standing here, waiting for a dead woman to come explain herself. Or waiting to find out that I really have gone off my rocker. Or waiting here to scare the bejeezus out of someone else sneaking around. You'd be surprised at how well old people can sneak. It's a survival skill around here. I must have been at least as nervous as I was angry - as soon as I heard steps, I changed my grip on my cane, ready to smack someone.

Birdie said, "I knew you didn't really need that cane."

"I won't, if you explain yourself Right. Now."

Birdie's wrinkled face split into a grin. "Don't beat me up now that I'm finally free!"

My jaw dropped. I lowered my cane. Holy shit. The old bitch really was alive. I babbled as we embraced, so glad to have my friend still, and so angry to have had to mourn her. Relief won, so I didn't strangle her.

"Okay," I said, holding her hands, "What the hell?"

"I'm free! My rotten kids can stop bitching about how much I'm draining their inheritance, the nannies here can stop treating me like a crazy person, and I can do whatever I like."

I blinked. Her kids really were terrible. I'd stay with her when they visited, partly for moral support and partly so she wasn't the only one to hear the terrible things they said. Lately they'd been hinting that Birdie was in mental decline, and needed to make of them her power of attorney. It was just a ploy to get at her money, of course, but try telling the staff here that. No one is going to believe an old lady.

She must have seen comprehension finally dawn on me. "Yup. I'm out. I've cashed out all of my investments, put it all in accounts under my maiden name. I'm going to have a very good time on my children's inheritance."

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday Sodium Survey 20170319

Only a quick update today; I've been sick. The worst is past, thankfully, and I'm taking it easy while I recuperate.

I met my goal very well all last week, and totally blew it today. I didn't realize until after I'd put them in the oven that the pork-chops had been injected with salt water - raising the sodium content significantly. If you read your meat labels carefully, you'll find that almost all of your poultry is treated the same way, and some of your other meats as well. It's not a problem for most folks, but super annoying for me. I'll be more assiduous in reading labels going forward.

Monday, March 13, 2017

What is my fashion style?

Reading and responding to this excellent blog post got me thinking about my own personal style, and how I want to dress to bellydance. With that in the back of my mind, I read this article, which kicked the beauty-standard underpinning right out from under my fashion thinking.

Metaphorically, I'm on my butt watching the grains of my fashion and dance style fall around me while (a lot of) the cultural chaff blows away. To torture the metaphor further, it will take a while to mill and knead and bake all this into clothes/costumes that feed my soul; I'm sure it will be delicious :)

As a start, here's a list of things I love wearing:
long, flowing, twirly skirts
sleeveless or 3/4 sleeves
sparkle
purple
butterflies
natural fibers
minimal elastic in the waistband
V- and scoop-necks, including low with supportive bras
body-skimming
bare-foot sandals
minimal to no shoes
Pretty and/or dramatic scarves
hair ornaments
high/low tops and skirts/dresses
well made
pockets!
versatile


Whatever I end up doing with this, I'm sure it'll be fun :)