Posted by: silverstar98121 | November 6, 2013

Already?

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I went by Nordstrom tonight on the way home, and they were setting up Santa’s house. It’s not even a week past Halloween. Too much, too soon. Especially since I’ll be missing my own, personal Santa this year.

Posted by: silverstar98121 | November 6, 2013

Memories

Playing ketchup. Another momento i grabbed Saturday. This was The Boyo’s ID tag when he stayed at Union Gospel Mission after his surgery. I have mixed feelings about the place. I’m glad it’s available, but wish we had better places to care for our sick homeless men. Gory people being congregated in one large room is inhumane, IMHO. Also unsanitary, and a lot of other ins and uns.

Posted by: silverstar98121 | November 6, 2013

Memories

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Playing ketchup. Another momento i grabbed Saturday. This was The Boyo’s ID tag when he stayed at Union Gospel Mission after his surgery. I have mixed feelings about the place. I’m glad it’s available, but wish we had better places to care for our sick homeless men. Gory people being congregated in one large room is inhumane, IMHO. Also unsanitary, and a lot of other ins and uns.

Posted by: silverstar98121 | November 3, 2013

An Early Birthday Present

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So I finally figured out how to share photos on my phone with WordPress. So here is one of the pictures I wanted to share with you. May I present pharaoh bear.  He is tiny, but mighty. And I now have three posts in three days. Go me.

Posted by: silverstar98121 | November 3, 2013

Trains and Remants

So Lacey and I went to Bellingham on the train today. It’s a very long day, leaving at 7 am, and getting home after 11 pm. I love Amtrak on this route, there is some very pretty scenery. Lacey and I took this trip so frequently this summer while The Boyo was in hospice care near his family that the conductors know our names, and that Lacey jumps on the train. They tell me what a good dog she is, so quiet. She has them fooled, they aren’t with me when she barks at the newspaper delivery person at 4 am. I’m sure my neighbors love me, with her barking and me yelling at her to shut up. Territorial she is. A big contrast to Friday, whose times barking could be numbered on one hand.

The purpose of today’s visit was to clean out The Boyo’s storage locker. Detritus and treasure. Let’s just say he was a collector, although some of the collecting passed the line into hoardings. When he moved from the Aloha Inn to hospice, they left behind 4 banana boxes of canned and boxed food. The Aloha leaves food out for the residents 24 hours a day. We found another boxful in the locker that they’d missed on the first sweep. His nephews will eat at his expense for a while.

The weather was abominable as it can be in November in western Washington, with torrential rain and high winds. Of course, his  storage unit faced outside. The boys got soaked. They put me facing out in his mom’s wheelchair accessible van, to say yes or may to each treasure unearthed. I didn’t get wet, but my feet are still cold. I’m glad to be home and dry.

Among the treasures found was a tiny teddy bear done up like a Pharaoh, souvenir of the King Tut exhibit we had visited earlier this year. I’m sure it was meant as a birthday present for me, he knew I collected teddy bears. So I got it a few days early.

I was going to put some pictures on here, but blogging on my tablet is cramping my style, and so is this app. I can only take pitches out of the gallery, or take a new picture. I took the pictures on my phone, which I can’t figure of how to upload to this gallery, maybe because I’m tired. The camera on this thing is meant for Skype and such as that. Enough for now, it’s time for bed.

Posted by: silverstar98121 | November 1, 2013

NaBloPoMo

Unless you live under a tree stump, you might know November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, but  you may not know November is National Blog Post month. The idea is to do 30 posts in 30 days. No themes, no word counts, just post something. I’ve  decided to take up the challenge, this is my first post. As Johnny Virgil says at15 Minute Lunch, don’t expect too much.

Posted by: silverstar98121 | September 18, 2013

The Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Week…And Its Aftermath

It started on Monday, when my desktop quit working and  started beeping. Evidently, computers have a “beep code”, how many beeps tells you what’s wrong. Mostly they all mean “you’re screwed, it’s something expensive.”

Wednesday my  backpack was stolen with my tablet in it. Also my knitting, some expensive yarn, my Amtrak ticket that I used to visit The Boyo in Bellingham, and some other things of sentimental value.

Friday my cellphone started acting up, like vibrating like a vibrator. While I was trying to talk on it. No, I don’t have one of those apps on it.

Early Saturday morning The Boyo died. I got to Bellingham in time to have a visitation with his body, for which I am grateful. I had my first “ugly cry” there. He donated his body to science, and left soon after that for someplace in Arizona. His ashes are back, and his memorial is scheduled for October 5th. Don’t ask me, I didn’t make the arrangements.

My computer still doesn’t work, it probably needs a motherboard. I don’t have the energy or money to fix it right now. My phone and tablet have been replaced with things The Boyo had. He bought a  tablet a couple weeks before he died. Later on he wondered why he had bought it. I guess we know now, Sweetie. I also got his fancy second hand wheelchair that reclines. I’d rather have him.

The “ugly crying” has tapered off, but I still get caught unawares by it occasionally. I miss him a lot, or at least who he was before the cancer. I’m glad he is no longer in pain. I’ve had sciatica, the flu, and bronchitis. This is par for a survivor. This too shall pass. And so it goes.

Posted by: silverstar98121 | April 23, 2013

So What’s New?

Well, I’m depressed. Horribly, awfully, terribly depressed. Can’t get out of bed depressed. It’s a good thing I have a dog, or I wouldn’t have gotten dressed for a month or two. Yes, I’ve been to the doctor, she tweaked my thyroid meds and put me on high doses of some vitamins I tested low on. Yes, I’ve seen a psychiatrist. She tweaked one of my psych meds. Yes, I still see my therapist every week. When I can get out of bed, and don’t make up a migraine to keep from going,

So, what have I got to be depressed about? Well, there’s the Boyo. He still has cancer, and it is kicking his ass. He started on a new drug for chemo, and it damned near killed him. He came off of it, and went on to hospice. However, it  did lower his tumor markers and relieve some of his pain, so he’s back on it, on a lower dose. He’s foggy brained enough as it is what with his traumatic brain injury, but now he’s also got a brain tumor and “chemo fog.” He asks me how to do things on his phone, and tells me he can’t make it work. “How do I get on Facebook?”  “It’s the blue F on your start page. You just push it,”  “But it doesn’t work!!!”  He probably hasn’t been there for weeks, and it signed him out. So some day I  will have to grab his phone, and sign him back in because I’m the only one who remembers his password. One I made up for him so it would be easy for him to remember. The same password that gets into all his sites. I’m frustrated. And sad, because he is deteriorating so fast. And he will move to Bellingham soon, to be closer to his family. Which will be good for him, not so much for me. Maybe I should rethink that email from the Senior People Meeters. (When the heck did I become a senior?) I have permission to get on with my life.

To make matters worse, I have some new, unwanted companions in my life. Bed bugs. I hates them. These are courtesy of The Boyo, also. His gift-giving skills are truly out the window, He bought a pillow second hand and brought it to my apartment, and put it in my recliner, So, some time later I’m sitting there and this bug runs across me. I am, at that point, not familiar with bed bugs. These days I am quite intimate with them. NOT what I would have picked for my next intimate encounter. I have two questions: a) who in hell buys second hand bedding in this day and age? b) who in hell sells second-hand bedding without at least washing and drying it, which would have killed the little darlings? Obviously, the answer to question a) is The Boyo. He buys everything second-hand. It’s not necessarily a matter of poverty. He once told me his dream car was 1987 BMW.

Here’s why bedbugs are a nightmare. They are not a public health menace, they are mostly an annoyance, The worst thing that could happen is that you could get a secondary infection from scratching a bite. Thirty per cent of people, including mois, don’t even get itchy from them. So what’s the big deal? They mess with your mental health, that’s what. I asked my best friend to help  me clean my apartment so I could call the maintenance department without getting evicted. Did I mention I’m “I can’t get out of bed” depressed? And having a lot more pain lately, too. Unfortunately, she had just finished with her own infestation, and ran out of here like she was on fire.That was mumbledy-mumble weeks ago, and other than doing a few dishes (when I didn’t have any clean silverware) and sort of keeping up with the laundry, nothing much has changed. I am afraid to try to get somebody else to help me. The amount of work you have to do to get ready for the pest control guy is unreal. You have to wash and/or dry every washable thing in the house. You have to take everything out of, and off of every thing and isolate them in bags and/or bins, tightly sealed, with “no pest” strips  inside.  You have to move every stick of furniture away from the walls so the pest control operator can get to the baseboards and sockets. I’m overwhelmed just thinking about it. Another friend was supposed to help me put the encasements on my brand new mattress and box springs. Didn’t happen. At the time I asked the bed bugs were rarely seen in the bedroom, it would have kept my mattress from getting infested. Now, if I ever get it on, it will  kill any that are left over. I’m paranoid to go anywhere lest I carry some little friends with me, and infest someplace else, It’s not the big, obvious  ones I worry about, it’s the little, tiny, nearly invisible babies that scare me. Yeah, they mess with your mind.In New York  City they have companies that come in and do all of this for you, but not around here. If you need a business opportunity, I suggest starting a company to do this. I know I would pay through the nose for the service.

Now that I feel a teensy bit better, I may actually get started, at least on the laundry part of the ordeal . And give up and just let the maintenance department come while my house is messy. If you guys could send me some funny e-cards or something, (snail mail cards, Starbucks cards, chili chocolate) I would be very grateful. I’m feeling pretty alone right now with just my dog, and my little friends. 

(P.S. I wanted to put a picture in, but I can’t figure out how to do it these days. )

Posted by: silverstar98121 | July 26, 2012

Sometimes It IS Zebras

Young doctors are always cautioned not to look for zebras when they hear hoof beats. That is, not to look for the unusual when there are more common explanations. The problem with this is sometimes they forget to look for the zebra in the horse herd. Dr. House aside, it’s sometimes hard to get them to think outside the box. And therein lies a tale.

As some of you who are on Facebook with me know, my boyfriend, The Boyo, was diagnosed with medullary thyroid cancer on Valentine’s Day. Personally, I could have lived without the experience. It is a rare type of thyroid cancer, and even rarer in men. It is a zebra, in other words. Because it is rare, not even cancer specialists, unless they specialize in just medullary cancer,  know a lot about it. It’s also what’s known as an indolent cancer, not very aggressive, likes to just hang out for years before it’s diagnosed. Often it’s diagnosed when it has spread to other endocrine organs, which it likes to do. Especially if there is a genetic component, which is more common in men. That doesn’t seem to be the case with The Boyo, and his case is termed “sporadic.”

Remember I said this cancer is indolent? Well, The Boyo has had the lump on his neck that got him diagnosed for about ten years. Ten years is a long time, especially with cancer. It can get up to all sorts of mischief in that amount of time. They did scan him for spread to the other endocrine organs, crucial because if it’s in the adrenals, and you take the thyroid out first, it can cause the blood pressure to spike to malignant levels. Very cautious of them.

However, we now find that there is a zebra in a zebra, puzzle in a puzzle, enigma in an enigma. The Boyo has always had some level of back pain since I’ve known him. He was a construction worker in his other life, this is par for the course. A year or so ago, it got much worse in his upper back, to the point that we could no longer have sex because of his pain. Yeah, I know, TMI, too bad, deal with it.

You must understand that he was part of the 45 million uninsured people in the US for several years. Construction workers often don’t have benefits if they are non-union, and even the union folks only get benefits after they’ve worked a number of hours. The benefits also disappear if they don’t get called to a job for a lengthy period of time. Given the boom and bust cycle of construction work, this is an insane system. So he went many years without seeing a doctor, or only seeing one in the free clinic when he was sick. Finally, last year some time, he got to where he couldn’t do even what minimal work he’d been doing, and he went on disability. And so he went on Medicaid. He could finally see a doctor. Yay!

Since it had been so many years since he’d seen a doctor, he had a lot of problems. He was pre-diabetic, he had sleep apnea that was severely impairing his ability to function. And, of course, he had back pain. Since he presented with so many problems, the back pain got shuffled to the end of the list. Nobody even did so much as x-ray his back. He would have been better off with a chiropractor, they would have x-rayed his back.

Eventually someone noted the lump on his neck, and decided to do a fine needle biopsy on it. I had no idea this was going on until he came home with a report that the lump was cancerous. On Valentine’s Day. I’ve had nicer Valentine’s presents, but I’m sure this will be the most memorable.

Fast forward to now. In the mean time he’s had his thyroid out, and a radical neck dissection. This was in early May, a couple of months after the diagnosis. Because he had a fair number of nodes positive for cancer, he was referred to a radiation oncologist.

I’ve been going to his appointments with him, and reading up on this stuff on the internet. I had a thirty year career as a nurse, so I could interpret for him. He also has some short-term memory loss from a traumatic brain injury, so I am “she who remembers.” Early on, I asked about his back pain, could it be related to the cancer? One of the things that can happen is you can get a tumor in your parathyroids, and because the parathyroids regulate calcium in the body, it can cause bone pain. I was hoping for a parathyroid tumor, because that would be an easy fix for his back pain. You take the tumor out, and within hours, the back pain disappears. But his calcium levels were not high enough to indicate a parathyroid tumor. I asked about bone metastasis, a possibility with this cancer, but not high on the list of places it spreads. I was assured that it would have shown up on the scan they  did pre-surgery. This did not make sense to me, because I knew the scan focused on soft tissue, not bone. And face it, the radiologist is only going to read a scan well enough to answer what they are asked about. They are not going to look hard at bones if they’ve been asked about endocrine organs. Unless something blatant shows up, it’s going to be missed.

And thus we come to the present. The Boyo was slated to start radiation therapy this last Monday. His back still hurt.  He’d been to a presentation by a spinal specialist, and asked to be referred to him. The specialist wanted him to have an MRI before he saw him. And so, this last Sunday, he had an MRI of his spine. He was on the table for 2.5 hours, I don’t know how he stood it. Monday, he had his first radiation treatment, and had difficulty, and was in great pain after the 12 minute treatment. He asked them for something for pain, and was blown off, referred back to his PCP. When he got back to respite care, where he is staying, he told the nurse there about it. She called over to radiation and read them the riot act. Pain management is part of their job.

Tuesday he shows up for his radiation treatment his customary 2-3 hours early (he will not be late for his funeral, I might be but he won’t). So they start asking the “where does it hurt” questions, so they can get some pain management going. When he informs them he had an MRI on Sunday, they call for the report. I’m sure my gentle, intelligent readers know right where this is going. Yes, indeedy, the MRI showed that the cancer had spread to the bones of his spine.

Up until this time, his indolent cancer had been treated indolently. More than two months from diagnosis to surgery. A further two months to radiation. It was like watching paint dry. Suddenly, with the diagnosis of bone mets, things are happening at the speed of light. His current radiation was cancelled, he got some good drugs, (finally), he had another CT scan yesterday, and is scheduled for a bone scan tomorrow. It’s dizzying.

Meanwhile I’m angry. Even with all the delays for tests in Canada, do you think this would have happened in the Socialist State of Canukistan? Hell no!! A doctor had noticed the lump on his neck ten years ago, but he was “lost to follow-up” as shortly after he was without insurance again. This coulda, shoulda, woulda been treated ten years ago. So I’m angry at our so-called “health” care system, or lack thereof. I’m angry that in a year and a half, his PCP never got around to actually addressing his back pain. I’m angry that his back pain was never addressed in the five months since his diagnosis, until now. I’m so angry I can’t see straight. When I went to nursing school, forty years ago, (OMG, I can’t be that old, can I?), it was emphasized that we had to be aware of what was going on with the whole person, and that included what in their family or community might be impacting their illness. Unfortunately, all his doctors have had blinders on. They only saw pieces of him. And so I’m angry. They can be glad I’m not married to him, and have no legal standing to sue.

Posted by: silverstar98121 | November 7, 2010

It’s Been Awhile

Since I got Lacey. Much has happened. She can finally pee and poop on a leash, but is still a little “speshul snoflayke” about when and where. It’s progress. She has taken and passed an obedience class. I signed her up for service dog classes, but they got cancelled. I may have to go with a private trainer. Unfortunately that’s costly, fortunately Washington has assistive technology loans you can get to cover the cost at a low interest rate.

I’m not used to a dog with a tail. I’ve had Cockers for 40 years, all with docked tails. So, it’s interesting to suddenly hear
“whap, whap, whap”, and realize it’s Lacey’s tail thumping on the furniture. My one set of puppies had their tails docked, but I don’t think I would have it done today. They do it when they are small, and it’s like circumcision without an anesthetic. They did it in the beginning because they were bird dogs, and you can imagine that a dog’s tail going “whap, whap” out in the field is going to scare birds away. Most Cockers these days aren’t field dogs anyway. You couldn’t show a dog without a docked tail, because it’s the standard of the breed, but maybe someday they will stop this cruel practice for all but field Cockers.

Lacey still cringes at a lot of stuff, not really people friendly. There are a few people she will let pet her, The Boyo and my therapist come to mind. Otherwise, forgeddaboutit. She has good days when she sails right along on our walks down the crowded sidewalks, and bad days when she cowers behind my chair at the least little thing. Well, except for the time she pulled her leash out of my hand to go chase a squirrel. The dog park is no longer a favorite since one of the big dogs attacked her because he thought she was going after his ball. Little did he know, she was chasing him. One time, I had her off-leash in the middle of the night at Seattle Center, and the little devil ran home. Across two normally busy streets. She was playing, she’d stop to make sure I was following her, then run some more. Twice, when she got spooked by loud noises, she slipped her collar and ran home. In broad daylight, when the streets are busy. But maybe she understands traffic lights. The last time, some people were trying to “help” me by chasing after her. So, of course, she ran faster and farther. All along the trail, people would just point and say, “She went thatta way.” I thought I”d never find her, so I went back to the building to call animal control, and some folks had somehow chased her into the lobby of my building. She was cowering in the corner by the elevators, and there was a cop there. Apparently, because she had her service dog vest on, they thought something had happened to me. So, we may have to do some behavior modification work, and she may need puppy prozac. *sigh* Not giving up on her.

She really is a good dog, except for the cowering. Whoever had her trained her well. She doesn’t beg. She doesn’t get up on the furniture, except with an engraved invitation with treats in it. She goes right under the table and just sits lies there if a stop off for a sandwich or coffee. Wouldn’t poop or pee in the house if you didn’t take her out for days. And will hold it until she gets to one of her designated spots, as she proved when I spent the weekend in Las Vegas over Labor Day. The Boyo didn’t know where her spots were, so she just didn’t go until I came home. Well, OK she did pee during that time, but you should have seen the pile of poop the first time I took her out when I got home.

Well, that’s all the news that’s fit to print, and probably some that isn’t.

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