Friday, November 30, 2007

Blatherings (but, hopefully, not blithering)

If you look in the upper right corner of this blog's home page, you'll see that I subscribe to Sitemeter.

Sitemeter allows me to see my visitors' servers and their locations, so I can see whereabouts my readers are from, except in the case of aol, which comes from another planet. (Relax, it doesn't give me your name or even your home town, so you've got nothing to worry about.) It also tells me the search terms if you came to my site from Google.

A lot of people are looking for the meaning of the phrase "Ripeness is all". I picture students the world over swearing their way through an English paper, trying to figure out just what the bloody heck that means. That's why I post the two pages from my former blog, Ripeness is All, under the Sitemeter logo.

I'm thinking I ought to send out emails to all the English professors in the world, so they can identify plagiarized materials...and shame on you, by the way, if you're teaching students whose native language is not English, for sicking those words on them! I was an English major, elected to Phi Beta Kappa in my junior year, and I only figured it out a few years ago.

Anyway, I was reminded again of the need for that readiness this week, when my oncologist called to tell me the results of my 11/23 PET/CT. The liver and bones are still clear, and there's no sign of anything in the lungs or brain, the other common sites of breast cancer metastasis. There's just a in my stomach, probably an ulcer or gastritis, my onc said.

I flipped. I was ready to deal with a report of a new metastasis, as I had dealt pretty calmly with the news of the first spread to the liver, but I was not ready to hear this. I think he would have let it go if I had not pressed him, but when he realized how anxious I was, he promised to talk to one of Hartford Hospital's gastroenterologists. I reminded him to make sure it was one who accepted Medicaid so I could avoid the fiasco that occurred earlier this year when I was looking for an endocrinologist (my blood glucose was over 300 and it took me two months to get an appointment).

I got a call the next day from the gastro, and I have an endoscopy set up for December 7th. In case you don't know, that's where they stick a tube with a little camera down your throat and look at the inside of your stomach, remove land mines, and biopsy any questionable areas. So I'll know for sure. I'm much better when I know for sure.

I'm embarrassed and sorry that I wrote a rather self-pitying email to the main breast cancer email list and the breast cancer metastasis list. I came to my senses the next day. The fact is that it's unlikely to be cancer, and the other fact is that I'll simply have to deal with it if it is.

Who cares? It's Christmas!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Night vision

Yep, it's one of those nights.

John's hand curls around mine like a peace lily. He's in some kind of arrhythmia, and I know he's worried that this means his surgery has failed.

The meager light that strays into the bedroom allows me to make out the faint light of the ceiling fan, which looks like a giant stylized daisy above the bed. The darkness sparks and twinkles with dark blue and spots of other colors. The night always has colors for me.

I make myself rise up toward the ceiling. I'm reminded of the time I took a trip with a boyfriend to Montreal on the train, sleeping on the tiny top bunk in the sleeper car. It took a bit of Xanax to get me through that; another boyfriend's tiny trailer had given me claustrophobia for life.

The night bedroom is not claustrophobic for me. John is my friend, and gives me freedom. The darkness allows me to see things that are obscured in daylight.

I have wondered if I will pass into death as peacefully and happily as I pass into sleep. It could happen. But on nights like this, I will drink in the insomnia, and hope.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cold War and a black spot on my Kleenex

I haven't written in quite some time. That's because every time I think about it, I come to the conclusion that I have nothing much to say.

But today was different. One exciting thing and one rather bizarre thing happened.

John went to Meriden yesterday to pick up the new pellet stove we bought on Friday. We couldn't bring it home on Friday because he's recuperating from a pretty successful atrial flutter ablation; one of the men at the shop was using crutches, because he'd had a spinal cord injury; and the other man had had three strokes. And I wasn't about to try lifting a 300-pound stove. Anyway, one of the shop guys told John that the rumor that there was an old Nike missile site in Mashomaset State Forest was true. So we took a ride through the forest to the Glastonbury edge of the woods.

This fellow had given John some rather vague directions, and we weren't able to find any of the landmarks he mentioned on the dirt road we usually take through the forest. So we looked at our Connecticut atlas and decided to try another road in.

The man had mentioned that there would be a bunch of chunks of concrete near a gate to a path off the dirt road. We finally found such a place and decided to go in.

One of the first things we found was two concrete slabs, parallel to each other and about eight feet apart, with curves in the center that would be perfect for holding the rather slender Nike missile as it is unloaded from a truck. John took a picture of me sitting in the center of the front slab:

If I look grim, well, you might understand why, at least if you remember the Cold War.

We then followed a path, some of which was paved, back a little ways into the woods. It was bordered by rusty barbed wire. On the way, we passed a couple of spots with what looked like eight-inch square linoleum tile on it. Finally we came to a large area with a slab of concrete, which had been covered by a hill of wood chips that seemed to have something else, possibly dirt, under it. There were heavy duty metal pipes that seemed to lead underground. At various spots around, there were more areas of tile, but no buildings were visible.

John took several pictures, but it was close to dark and cold, so we headed back. When I got home I read that there are several abandoned missile sites in Connecticut, including one on the Metacomet Trail in Farmington. The one in Glastonbury is noted as having all associated buildings razed. Suddenly I can't wait for spring!

Oh, but wait--I'm not done. Shortly after we got in the car to head home, the car heat thawed out my nose and I noticed it was tickling. I put my thumb in a tissue and reached in to scratch it and pulled out--a tick. A whole medical mystery plot came to mind.

All the way home, I was surreptitiously sticking Kleenex up my nose, endeavoring to make sure that Mrs. Tick had not brought her extended family with her. I think I'm going to be all right. I must be; I listed a new photo on eBay tonight. Here it is:

If you're interested in seeing the auction, you can click here. I'm cheap.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Catching up

Several people--well, okay, one person--has noticed that I haven't been posting much lately. I went through a very tough few weeks. After getting through the time when my daughter was in the hospital, and cars were breaking, and all that, I simply collapsed. I curled up in my bed in the fetal position and lay there feeling hopeless.

I'm feeling better now. This morning brought a bit of it back, however...I was going through my email and there was a notice from the Hygienic Art Gallery that submissions for the Holiday Show had to be in by November 11th. This post was a "correction" to the date previously emailed to past participants; I had not received that post, however, so this one was the first I'd heard about the show. I immediately began panicking--what should I do, how will I have it ready in time, that sort of thing. Then I remembered that I'm already overcommitted and behind on things, and of course I had to beat up on myself a little more for that. It didn't help that it was a cold rainy day, exactly the kind of November day I dislike the most.

Why do I have to hang on to this guilt and self-hatred? I believe that behavior is purposeful, and I'm no exception to that rule. Lots of food for thought...

As a child, I was not allowed to express or even show anger. My parents got very angry with me for being angry. That meant I had to be guilty and a very bad person instead, and I'm still following the same old pattern.'d think I would have outgrown that, at almost 56--and that I'd give myself a break, now that I have a terminal illness!

Anyway, this is a picture of my latest sale on eBay.

It's called 'Gaia Weeps'. No wonder hardly anyone buys my stuff. I'm a real drag...just kidding! I'm wonderful, don't you think?