Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31 - Life is good. And today was definitely a good day to be alive!

So, I've recently gotten a little perspective on the weight thing. I read that Christian Bale dropped down to 122 pounds in order to play his character in the movie The Machinist. And he's 6' tall!! Also, there's been a lot in the rag mags about all the weight that Matthew McConaughey has lost to play an AIDS victim in his latest flick. Lastly, Yahoo has been reviewing their favorite stories of 2012 and one of them was about an overweight chick who lost 100 pounds. She's now 5'4" (same as me) and weighs 110 and she looks fantastic! Based on all this, I've decided my problem with the weight loss (other than the fact that it's continuing) is that it was an unhealthy weight loss. I feel like a sack of skin with bones stuck in. Whoa. I just had deja vu. I swear there was a similar quote to that effect near the beginning of my blog. It was something one of my favorite heroines had said. Anywho, sorry, a little ADD going on there. So, I'm not waiting any longer for the weight to stop falling off before trying to gain back some muscle tone. As far as I'm concerned, if the chickie in the Yahoo article can make 110 look healthy and good, then I still have some leeway to play with and I should feel free to start doing stuff that burns calories. With that in mind........

Friday I worked on clearing out that incredibly heavy foot and a half of snow that got dumped on us, from the driveway. I had to make 3 separate trips for an hour each time but I managed it. I also posted an ad on on a whim. I haven't been on a date for 4-5 years now so I figured it would be fun. And I posted loud and clear about not only my cancer, but my accident too, and warned of my scars. I figured this would be a good way to distinguish the men from the boys. As it turns out, guys don't seem to really care. Within 3 hours I had my first date set up for Saturday.

So, Saturday saw me cross country skiing for the first time in 3 years. Match Brian and I did an hour and a half loop at Mendon Ponds Park. It felt so good! We were on the trail and he looked up at a flock of geese going over and he asked me if I knew why one side of their vee was longer than the other. I replied no, why? He said because there's more geese on the one side than the other.........I pushed him over on his skies (or attempted to but since I'm wussy girl right now, it didn't quite work). LMAO!

Yesterday I spent 3 hours non-stop cleaning my house, then I went outside and spent another 45 minutes shoveling our new snowfall, then came back inside and cooked up a big batch of seafood bisque and croissants just in time to have Match Neil over for dinner and a night of shooting zombies on the Wii. We had a lot of fun!

This morning found me up before the crack of dawn, puttering around, taking care of the animals. I then sat down to play Harvest Moon for a couple of hours until the sun woke up and started shining merrily. I then did a quick cleanup on myself and headed back to Mendon to put another hour and a half in on my cross country skis. It was so peaceful and pretty. I wish I had thought to grab my new camera from my purse!

So as you can see, I'm working hard on getting some muscle put back on. I'm currently trying to line up a snowshoe date for tomorrow with Match Amherst, I have a hiking date this Saturday with Match Steve, and I'm working on a snowshoe date with Match Tom for Sunday. Phew! I'm kind of forcing these men to combine exercise and dating. It makes for a win-win sitch for me! LOLOLOL!

Okay, the only improvement I have to report wasn't actually on my list. And it's probably a little TMI but I'm going to share any way. My girly thing finally came back after being MIA for over 3 months!! Mind you, I wasn't too torn up about it being gone, and normally I wouldn't be all that excited about it being back but any bodily function returning to normal HAS to be a good thing, right?

I've been staying away from the scale again but plan on weighing myself on Wednesday morning. I will have 5 days of exercising under my belt by then so we'll see how that goes. I believe that muscle weighs more that fat so maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised and my weight will be up from the 123.4 that it was on Christmas. Although....can you build muscle in a short 5 days. Guess I'll see.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

December 27 - I had an improvement to report today but upon copying my lists from the last time I had reported on them, I discovered that I actually have a number of improvements to report. How bleeping exciting is that?!? So, here's what's happening:

- Mucusitis is gone!
- Diarrhea is gone!
- Gagging is happening only every other day!
- Water pik is only needed twice a day!
- I stopped using my humidifier every night! (Although not because I'm now producing spit but because it was making me damp at night which then gave me the chills and I was more afraid of catching pneumonia than worrying about waking up 3-5 times a night due to dry mouth.)

No Improvements:
- Sporadic sleeping still happening.
- I'm still losing weight.
- 10% of food tastes meh, 10% of food tastes okay, 80% of food tastes rotten.
- I still have thrush.
- Back of tongue still swollen.
- I'm still not producing spit.
- Garbled talking.

- Bullfrog effect still going on.

Cool. I added color. So, items in red I really have no control over. Items in yellow, I'm thinking I should be able to do something about....kind of.

The sleeping issue. As mentioned previously, the melatonin didn't really do anything for me. Although JT mentioned that he thought you had to take it for a week or two to get it to build up in your system before it would be effective. Unfortunately, I had already moved on. I bought a sleeping aid called ZQuil by the makers of Nyquil. It didn't seem to do anything either. Since I'm on vacation until next Wednesday, I'm not too wound up about this issue right now. I'll wait and see how cranky I start getting from lack of sleep once I'm back to work full time. Then I'll start researching other options. Jer thinks I should ask my doctor to prescribe some Lunesta or Ambien. I poked around on the web. Lunesta may not be safe if you have a history of alcohol abuse <ahem>. Ambien, on the other hand, can potentially cause sleep eating. How cool is that? That could come in handy in regards to item 2 on the list......

Have I mentioned I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed? Here's my blonde, female, Polish move for this week. I hadn't weighed myself since 12/17 because it was just too depressing watching the scale go down, down, down. On 12/17 I had weighed in at 125.2. I decided that since I was going on vacation, I should be able to really bump up my eating. So, for 4 days straight (12/21-12/24) I made sure I was eating every 3-4 hours. I basically kept my tummy constantly full. On Christmas morning I decided to finally weigh myself again, thinking the scale had to have gone up at least half a pound. Alas, it said 123.4 (This is less than what I weighed when I got married at age 21!). I was SO bummed. I kind of moped around all day because of it and then in the evening, the lightbulb went off. I didn't weigh myself right before embarking on the four days of stuffing my face. For all I know, maybe I HAD gone up a pound or so from whatever I weighed. Doh! So, slightly cheered, I hopped on and started working on the third item on the list which will help the second item on the list......

I'm still limited to mostly liquid and some soft foods. So I did a search on creamy soups and bisques on I found 8-10 recipes that sounded interesting so I printed them out, made a list of ingredients and hit Wegman's yesterday. $160 later I was back home with a very large amount of fresh vegetables and what not. On a side note, I passed a display of eggnog in half gallon containers while shopping. Since I've been drinking the eggnog milkshakes, I thought maybe I should give actual eggnog a try. Once I saw that it has 280 calories in 1/2 cup, I was sold. Thank goodness I hadn't looked at the price before sticking it in my cart because that may have changed my mind right back to not buying it. It rang up at $7.99 and then discounted a $1. For a half gallon! Holy cow! Anyway, last night I got busy in the kitchen. I made a cajun pumpkin soup which was okay. I made a roasted eggplant/garlic soup which was really good. I made a spinach/potato/broccoli/cauliflower/cheese soup that was actually a bit yuck but it's got some hefty calories to it and a ton of good for me stuff (plus it made 12 servings which I will feel too guilty tossing in the garbage) so I'm going to try to force myself to eat it. And lastly I made a different pumpkin soup that called for molasses. Turns out I'm not a fan of molasses. The recipe went in the garbage but I can probably make myself eat the soup. So, the eggplant is definitely a recipe I'll be making again. I'm taking a break from the kitchen today but I still have a stack of other recipes to try (one of them is peanut soup!) in the next couple of days.

Lastly is the thrush. Today is day 6 of once again religiously dissolving 5 of these lozenges on my tongue throughout the day. I'm going to keep doing that for 14 days straight and if I still have thrush at the end of 14 days, I'm going to have to call Dr. A and see if there's anything else we can do. I have to think that some of the discomfort in my mouth and throat would be reduced if I could get rid of this darned yeast infection.

So, that's the health report this week. Nothing much to report on the "fun" front. Santa was VERY nice to me. Who says naughty girls don't make the list! Ha! Due to today's storm, I am not currently ensconced in Patilda's cute little house. My manservant has been a busy bee. I think we're just about ready to clear out the two downstairs bedrooms so we can start remodeling them. It will feel good to get that project underway. My happiness project has stalled out. I may be starting it in February instead of January. I've been a movie watching fiend for this vacation. The Avengers, Cowboys & Aliens, The Amazing Spiderman, Django Unchained, Dark Shadows, Quantum of Solace, Ted.........speaking of which, Kim said that the Bourne Legacy was really good so I think that's where I'll head right now.......

Friday, December 21, 2012

December 21 - Today is just a purge of all the random tidbits that have been plaguing me. I'm hoping I can get them all out of my system and stop being a mopey whine ass.

Melatonin isn't doing squat and I even took it twice last night! Not sure I'm supposed to do that but I was getting a little desperate. Meanwhile, it didn't help and now I'm running on 3 hours sleep today. Bleah.

Jer was complaining that he usually gets me alcohol for Christmas and since I no longer can drink (tastes horrible!) he's at a loss. Went to the movies with Luke last night and he was complaining that he usually buys me gifts that revolve around food and since I'm not eating, HE'S at a loss. It made me laugh to have them complaining about how difficult I'm making the gift buying thing. Dorks! :-)

JBB has been riding my butt about my weight. Due to her efforts, I made a peanut butter and banana smoothie this morning that wasn't too awful. With a scoop of protein powder, it was 425 calories. I resolve to drink one of those every morning for the next week and a half.

And thank goodness, only 6 hours and 19 minutes until 11 wonderful days off from work. I am SO looking forward to it! There will be knitting, movie watching, Wii playing, and book reading galore. (Kim - I'm slowly working my way through The Passage so that I can get that mailed back to you!) (JBB - the book you lent me is next on the list after that!) I'm also going to buzz into the Syracuse area to spend a night with Patilda, barring any bad weather, just for the heck of it.

Since the start of my adventure, I've noticed I'm much more aware of every time cancer is mentioned, whether it's a magazine article, or in a movie, etc. And on top of that, it seems like a large number of people who have had cancer, also get cancer a second time in a different place. Kind of like once exposed, you're more susceptible. Is this true or am I being over sensitive??

The gagging thing is still going on. Usually twice a day. Every day I have to resist calling Nurse Jane and crying to her that I need (want!) more pain meds. They sure made life a much more pleasant place to be. I'm once again pissed that alcohol has been ruined for me. It would have made a good substitute for the pain meds AND added some calories into my diet. Empty ones I know but hey, I'll take whatever I can get.

In the movie theatre last night I wore a turtleneck, a sweatshirt, my coat, and my gloves and I still froze my ass off the entire time I was there. I had to permanently change my thermostat at home a couple of nights ago too. I usually keep it at 67 when I'm home and awake, 64 when I'm not home or asleep. Wednesday night I woke up in the middle of the night (for the third time) and even with a blanket, a huge down comforter, and being on the second floor (where all the heat rises to) I was shivering! So, it's now 70 when I'm home and awake, and 67 when I'm not home or asleep.

This morning I tried walking in a manner that allowed my thighs to rub together. Personally, I think your thighs are supposed to touch, at least a little. I think it's gross when I see the twig legs on women in magazines. They look like they've been riding a horse every day for 10 years straight. Anywho, I was unsuccessful getting my thighs to touch. On the bright side, I reenacted the exercise for Kunkel at work this morning which made her laugh so it was good for something. :-)

Yesterday I went to Dunkin Donuts and told the chickadee behind the counter that I'm trying to gain 20 pounds and asked her to make me the most fattening drink that she could think of. I walked out of there with a frozen mocha caramel latte something or other. And yes, the first couple of sips made me scrunch my face in disgust but I eventually got used to the taste of coffee again. I had forgotten that that is yet another item I have given up. I hope my k-cups stay good for a while! Anyway, when I got back to work, I used the rest of my lunch hour to create a spreadsheet of the most fattening drinks at DD as well as Starbucks to keep in my purse. The closest thing I could find to what she had made for me was 1050 calories. She rocks!

Luke mentioned that Flag's supposedly has a really good seafood bisque. He and I are going to try to meet up and go check it out sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Okay, I'm off to get something productive done for work. I hope everyone stays safe for the holidays and that Santa at least brings you something that makes you smile!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 19 - Skeletor checking in for the week. Down to 125.2 as of 2 days ago. Been avoiding the scale since then.

Running out of the pain meds has, to put it mildly, SUCKED. I had a 20 minute long gagging episode at my desk on Monday that ended with me puking into my garbage can. I'm back to only sleeping for 2-3 hours at a time with a lot of insomnia in between. I've been dosing up on Nyquil the past 2 nights but boss guy told me to try something called Melatonin. His ADD/Asperger's syndrome kid has a really hard time falling asleep so they feed him this "natural" supplement 1.5 hours before bed. I picked some up at lunch so I will be trying it tonight.

It's been over a week and still no word from Dr. A. It's probably just as well. After my appointment with Dr. C yesterday, I've had it up to my eyeballs with doctors in general (although not you Karen, you don't count because you're my friend, not my doctor, just so we're clear!).

So, my appointment with Dr. C was at 9:00 and I was back at work by 9:35. Kunkel was blown away. She said at least 15 minutes of that had to be driving time! I told her what a wham, bam, thank you ma'am type of dude he was. She now believes me. So, he scoped me, did some prodding around and said that I looked like I was exactly where I should be at this point and there's no cancer to be seen. I was like okay, but I was wondering about this gagging thing and what I can be doing about it? According to him, he has never, ever, ever had a patient complain about gagging after surgery. Are you shitting me?!? First Dr. A tells me that I'm weird because most people get their sugar taste buds back first and mine are still dead. Now Dr. C is telling me that I'm weird because I have this gagging thing going on?? UGH. On top of that, he said the only reason he was seeing me was to verify that the cancer hadn't come back, not to try and solve the gagging thing. Well, great. Dr. A doesn't know what to do about it and Dr. C doesn't want to be bothered.

Long story short; he didn't think it was a good idea for me to be controlling the gagging thing with pain meds, he thinks I just need to get used to the wad of flesh in my mouth. He said 1 out of every 40 patients has to go back under the knife to get de-bulked (excess flesh cut away) but they don't make that call until 1 full year has gone by after the surgery. I told him that Dr. H had mentioned this but that Dr. V had pooh-poohed it. He said that if Dr. V was confident enough to pooh-pooh it this early in the game then it's extremely unlikely that I will need to get it done seeing as how he's done thousands of these.  And that's that. He waved at me and walked out of the room.

And since my week was already going so wonderfully well, I stopped home for lunch yesterday to find that Dr. V had sent me a bill for my portion of his work. $2500! Who the heck sends out whomping big bills like that 6 days before Christmas?!? Luckily, grandma left me some money when she passed away 2 years ago. I socked a wad of it away and will now be using it for this bill as well as any others that come my way. Thank you grandma! XOXOXO I also made sure to check my insurance coverage and it looks like I'm liable for up to $4k which is a good thing to know so I can keep an eye on how much moulah is flying out the door to all the different medical peeps involved in this process. Of course, at the end of the day, $4k is a small price to pay to hopefully be alive for another 5, 10, or however many years. :-)

 In other news, I found a copycat recipe on-line for MickyD's shamrock shake. Made it the other day. Wasn't all that thrilled with the taste. No clue if it's the recipe or my taste buds though. Guess I'll find out when the real thing comes out in March.

Man-servant is spending a lot of time at the house. The fan in the family room looks fantastic! I walked out into that room ~15 times the first day after it was installed simply so that I could admire it over and over again. He now has the laundry area of the basement totally gutted. Still don't know what's actually wrong with the dryer though. Might be giving the economy a boost in January. New mattress, new washer/dryer combo, 50" flatscreen for the living room.......Obama is going to love me!

Lastly, I preached today. I told myself that I wasn't going to be one of those people but then I went ahead and did it. I have mixed feelings about the event. I went to Direct Buy to pick up some wine glasses that I had ordered (in September, mind you!) and the incredibly hot, young kid at the loading dock was outside on a smoke break. I followed him in, we checked out my goods, I signed off on them, and he carted them up to take them out to my car. As we were walking out of the building, I casually mentioned to him that I had been diagnosed with tongue cancer back in June. He said "oh, I'm sorry to hear that" and you could tell by the look on his face that he was wondering why I was sharing with him. So, I told him about them hacking out part of my tongue and putting a part of my arm in its place. I showed him the scar on my arm. Told him about the 60 pounds that I've lost and what a living hell the whole thing has been. I then told him the reason that I was mentioning it was that I saw him over near the dumpster when I pulled in, smoking. And that if he had even the slightest interest in quitting, that I would highly recommend it. I told him that even though I had seen all the commercials, and read all the warnings, I had never actually known anyone personally who had gotten cancer from smoking so I had the attitude of "can't happen to me". So, just in case he also had yet to meet someone personally who had cancer from smoking, let me introduce myself, my name is Cathy Quinn. He was very good natured about it. We talked about how hard it is to quit. I told him that it's been over 6 months since my last cigarette and I STILL dream about smoking sometimes. The whole convo ended on a laugh so I'm hoping I didn't sound like too big of a jerk. In the end, he's free to take it or leave it, in regards to my (hopefully not too preachy) warning. I just felt like getting it out there, even if I only have the nerve to do it this one time.

Friday, December 14, 2012

December 14 - Okay, it looks like I'll be running out of pain meds this weekend. Which sucks for my Tuesday appointment but is good since I've been stressing about whether I'm addicted or not. I won't be calling in for a refill so we'll see how next week goes. I made sure to give my boss a head's up. I was thinking along the lines of bursting into tears or something. He told me to try "try really hard to play nice with your coworkers". Say what? Guess he thinks I'm going to be angry? Either way, nice show of compassion boss guy. Not.

Never got a call back from Dr. A. I'm thinking she's done with me at this point. Or maybe she doesn't want to waster any more time with me until after my appointment with Dr. C. Who knows. I'm pretty much resigning myself to having thrush for the rest of my life at this point. Bleah.

I researched the green milkshakes. It IS MickeyD's. Turns out the shakes have a bit of a cult following too because they are not sold by all MickeyD locations. They have an entire website dedicated to Shamrock Shake sightings. How weird is that? So starting the first week in March, I will be on the lookout for these shakes.

This week I have put pressure on myself to try out new foods. Wednesday for lunch was a chocolate cream pie. Didn't taste good but I was able to eat it because it's basically just pudding and whipped cream. Yay. Wednesday for dinner was pizza. Managed half a slice. Didn't taste good and was difficult to swallow. Thursday for lunch was a cannoli. Two bites glued to the roof of my mouth. Thursday for dinner was nachos. Managed to eat a handful. Didn't taste good and had to chew the chips REALLY well. Today was our holiday outing at work. We went to Next Door Grill from 12:00 - 3:00. I nibbled on a little of EVERYthing they served. My favorite were the toasted bread disks with the crumbly blue cheese. The bread disks were crunchy but they totally disinegrated upon chewing which made them easy to swallow and the blue cheese actually tasted like blue cheese. Are you seeing the cheese theme this week? I always say that steak and sushi are my all time fave foods but I think it's actually cheese. Here's a pic of Leo and I at the shindig. This was taken with the new digital camera I bought myself for Christmas. It was supposed to get wrapped and put under the tree but.......

That's pretty much all that's going on with the health stuff for now. I'll report back in after my Tuesday appointment. In other news, I'm happy to report that my man-servant finally came back to work. He's been here the past 3 nights and stuff is really getting done! My curtains are finally hung in the kitchen, the phone lines throughout the house have been fixed, more demolition has occurred in the basement, and right now my ceiling fan for the family room is getting hung.

My big winter project (with the man-servant's help) is to get the rest of the main floor remodeled. My office will stay an office but it will be a much nicer one. The other spare bedroom is going to become a walk-in closet/dressing room for me because hey, I can. And the family room out back is going to be turned into a reading nook with a gas fireplace and everything. Woo hoo! I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 11 - I feel like a broken record but there's nothing I can do about it. I still have thrush. :-( I called and left a message for Dr. A yesterday letting her know. We'll see if she has any new ideas on what to do about it. It made for an even more unpleasant than normal dentist visit yesterday. When the slightest pressure makes the inside of your mouth bleed, it ain't pretty. On the bright side, the dental hygienist (DH) said my teeth are looking good and she can tell I've been doing a good job taking care of my mouth. Meanwhile, the swelling thing in the back of my throat seems even worse than it has been. I just took the pain meds 2 hours ago but I still feel a very strong urge to gag so drugs aren't even helping at this point. Ugh! I hope it doesn't prevent Dr. C from doing a scope next Tuesday because I really want to know what the hell is going on and what we can do about it. And now that I'm thinking about it, I'll have to make sure to take the pain meds an hour before that appointment because if he does scope me, there will be a camera getting shoved up my nose and down my throat which sucked the first time he did it and will likely be much worse now with the mess that's going on in my mouth/throat. <sigh>

The DH mentioned that the salt/baking soda thing was a good idea but I should really only do it once a day. She said 3-4 times a day and I'm likely killing the good bacteria in my mouth as well as the bad bacteria. So, I've decided to use it right before bed each night and just use regular water the rest of the time.

I scrolled back through a couple of blogs and it looks like I weighed 127.8 on 11/30. This morning I weighed 126.8. Only down one pound over an 11 day period! I think that's progress! I took myself to the Crab Shack this past Saturday and had a bowl of lobster bisque. I also got a bowl to-go which I ate last night for dinner. The nice thing about bringing it home is that I was able to run it through a strainer and get all the lobster chunks out. Made eating it a ton easier although yes, it was depressing as all get out to have to toss a quarter of a cup of lobster meat in the garbage. There's always a price to pay, right? I'm planning on taking Patilda there this Saturday for dinner and I'll be sure to get another bowl to-go. I'm still doing pretty good with drinking an eggnog milkshake every other day too. I know Dr. A wants me to eat one every day but I just can't do it. I don't want to get sick of them and then not eat them at all! I actually got a strawberry milkshake last week to try and mix things up. They forgot to give me a straw so I wasn't able to drink it until I got home at which point I discovered it totally tasted like freezer burn. Gross! It went right into the garbage. I guess not a lot of people are keeping milkshakes moving this time of year. Meanwhile, I'm getting kind of excited for St. Patty's day now. I think Mickey D's is the chain with the green milkshakes. Sammy/Mark introduced me to one of those last year and it was SUPER yummy! I just might be able to step up my milkshake intake for that particular flavor!

So, I posted last week that I was going to start hoarding money, not shop, that I had enough clothes to last a lifetime. Yeah right. At 126 pounds I am now a size 4. I have never been a size 4 in my life. Back in high school, when I weighed 118 pounds, the smallest size I could wear was a 9 because of my lovely, child bearing hips. Anywho, my pants are once again hanging off of me. I can't even begin to describe how sick I am of going through my closet and removing everything that no longer fits. (Yeah, I'm once again shocked to hear myself say something like that but it's true!) Some of which I didn't even get a chance to wear!! I went to Walmart and bought a bunch of plastic totes. I am now packing up all the 'big' clothes for storage. I'm also carefully vetting everything for "style" and I have a growing pile bound for the thrift store as well. I'm not huge into fashion but once something has sat in your closet for 15 years, it doesn't hurt to take a close look at it and make sure you're not going to look like too big of a doofus wearing it today. I had also forgotten that I used to buy myself clothes at the thrift store that I totally loved but that were too small. I would tell myself that as soon as I lost 10 pounds I would be able to wear them and hey, since I was shopping in a thrift store, it was cheap as dirt anyway. I am now able to wear two pairs of jeans that I bought years ago but never managed to fit into and let me just say, they are super cute and it was totally worth the wait! And all of this rambling leads up to the fact that I went on a bit of a spree on Saturday night. It was the bisque! It gave me an energy surge! I am now the happy owner of a credit card for The Dress Barn. (I seriously hate that name but I love their clothes!) (And I normally frown on credit cards for individual stores, but there was a 15% discount if I signed up. My total went from $325 down to $276, how could I turn that down!?)  I bought 5-6 pairs of pants and a couple of dresses in a size 4. (And I might have bought a few tops/sweaters as well........) So, I am once again outfitted for work. Let's hope my weight is finally stabilizing and I can be done with the shopping, and the trying on, and the cleaning out of closets, and the packing for storage, and the...............

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December 4 - My high hopes for the lozenges have been dashed. It's been a week. I still have thrush. Doc didn't say I HAD to stop taking the full dose after 7 days so I'm still doing 5 lozenges a day. I also received an e-mail from Sush today with some getting rid of thrush tips. Gargling with saltwater was one of them. It made me realize that I stopped using the salt/baking soda rinse in my water pik a while back. So, this morning I started it up again. I've used it twice already today and will use it again before I go to bed. He also said to eat unsweetened yogurt and avoid high sugar foods. I'll try the yogurt as soon as I get back to Wegman's but due to the ongoing weight loss, I have to ignore the sugar advice.

I have an appointment with Dr. C for 12/18. I guess Dr. A's persistence paid off. We'll see if he does a scope and what he has to say about the swelling that doesn't seem to be going away.

My weekend with Kit at her cabin was a ton of fun! I managed to get half of a scarf done! Now I have to work on getting it mostly completed so that she and I can meet up at a coffee shop and she can teach me how to "cast off" when knitting. (How cool am I that I now know knitting lingo??)

Kit did a great job at trying to keep me fed. I was "mommed" nearly to death for a day and a half but I've added applesauce to the things I am now eating. It makes my tongue sting but if I coat up with the Lidocaine ahead of eating it, it's not so bad and gives me a new vehicle for transporting calories into my body. We also tried lobster stuffed tilapia and mashed potatoes and gravy, neither of which really worked from a swallowing standpoint but "A" for effort.

The cabin was just as gorgeous as I remember. One big room that is kitchen, dining room, and living room combined. A separate bedroom and bathroom on the main floor and then a spiral staircase going up to a huge loft with two beds. The staircase goes down to a really clean, nicely laid out basement as well. Kit let me have the bedroom on the main floor because the spiral staircase was intimidating even if I wasn't on heavy pain meds and I'm usually up 2-3 times a night still.

Spending the weekend there has re-motivated me in regards to my dream to own some wooded land that I can someday build MY retirement cabin on. When I got home Sunday night I immediately made up a household budget in Excel and I am now tracking where I am spending every nickel and I'm going to start socking money away like crazy into my savings account towards my land dream! I WILL make it happen! This means no shopping trip to Lord & Taylor this weekend for new pants for the company holiday lunch. It's just coworkers, nobody I need to impress so any pair of black pants is sure to look nice with the red blouse I bought. I have enough clothes to last a lifetime so I'm cutting myself off no matter how much fun it is to shop when you're skinny. Saving for land is more important!

Unfortunately I was up during the wee hours Sunday night/Monday morning, throwing up (I hope Kit is okay, I need to check in with her and make sure this was just a 'me' thing!). And I did it again when I got up to get ready for work a few hours later. I HATE nausea. I couldn't decide if I felt bad enough to just stay in bed the entire day or if I felt okay enough to work from home. I decided to start working from home and see how I felt as time passed. At 9:00 am I realized I hadn't taken my pain meds in a while and my tongue was burning. I checked the spreadsheet I've been keeping and it had been 13 hours since I had last taken the meds! I was pretty proud that I had made it that long. So, I went ahead and took some pain medication and the next thing I know the nausea is totally gone and I felt absolutely fine. WTH? I don't think the meds are supposed to cure nausea so is that a sign of addiction??! I'm freaking out a little over here!

Winter is here so I've started lotioning my entire body when I get out of the shower. I figure not only is it good for dry skin but it has to be of some help to all of the scars as well, keeping them supple and moisturized, right?

I've decided to move the sleeping thing off of the list of no improvements. Even before this adventure I was always up at least once a night for a bathroom break. Now I'm up for a bathroom/water pik/get a drink/take pain meds break which lasts ~20 minutes instead of 5 but still isn't too terribly disruptive. Besides, I really want to take something off the darned list for the mental boost it causes. :-)

- I'm sleeping in 5-7 hour blocks pretty consistently now.

No Improvements:
- Some things taste meh, some things taste okay, some things taste rotten.
- Mucusitis on the good side of my tongue burns.
- My tongue is still swollen and touching the back of my throat, making me gag.
- Diarrhea is still going on.
- I'm still losing weight.
- I'm still using the water pik 3 to 4 times a day to keep my mouth clean.
- I'm still not producing spit.
- Garbled talking.
- Bloated face every morning.

I started reading a book called The Happiness Project. It's about this chick who is pretty happy with her life but feels that she should be more appreciative of it and could probably be happier. She did a slew of research on what causes/creates happiness, then she defined 12 areas of her life where she felt she could improve her happiness, one for each month of the year. Then for each month she laid out 4-7 "resolutions" for herself that would help her achieve more happiness if she accomplished them. I'm only up to April so far but I'm really digging this whole idea. I've written pages of copious notes detailing my own ideas for a happiness project. I'm planning on kicking mine off on January 1st. Make it a year long New Year's resolution for myself. As a bonus, when I have nothing exciting to report to you on my physical health, I can always report to you on how my mental health is coming along. Ha!

Alas, I actually thought I would be done with the blog by the end of the year. Thought I would be eating somewhat normally by now and would have put all the unhealthiness behind me. Since that's obviously not happening, my new goal is to be eating normally by March 1st. I sure as hell hope I can achieve that!

Friday, November 30, 2012

November 30 - Dr. A called this afternoon. She said the scan showed everything to be normal post surgery and post radiation. I asked her if that meant there is no swelling. She said no, there definitely is swelling but there is no cancer re-occurring. I fell out of my chair. I didn't know she was even suspecting it might be the cancer coming back, for crying out loud! Thanks god it's not. Meanwhile, she really wants Dr. C to look at it and give her a second opinion. And she said she's not going to put up with one of his PA's looking at me, she specifically wants HIM to look at me. She's concerned about part of my airway passage being blocked. I guess she tried calling him a few times today but he was in surgery all day so she's going to try again next week and she told me to expect a phone call. Meanwhile she didn't say anything about steroids. She said she thinks the swelling is being caused by the thrush (I disagree but I actually hope she's right and that these lozenges get rid of it!). She asked if I was noticing a difference yet with the lozenges. I told her things were still bleeding when I brush my teeth and there's still a lot of pain. She said okay but are the cottage cheese clusters still on your tongue. I didn't have a good answer. Can't say I've been looking at my tongue. Although I looked at it right after I got off the phone with her and yes, they're still there but hey, it's only been 3 days with the meds and she says it takes 7 to get rid of the thrush. I'm still willing to give it good odds at working! The last thing she said before letting me off the phone was "You had better be eating a ton of calories over there, missy!". I told her I had an eggnog milkshake sitting on my desk right then and there. And it was actually half a milkshake because I had already been sucking it down! She said she wants to hear that I'm eating a milkshake every day instead of every other day. I told her I'd try.

Earlier this week my most complimentary coworker, H, broke my heart. He always has a 'hey beautiful', 'hi gorgeous', or a 'good morning sunshine' for me. Monday morning he took one look at me and said 'hey bony'. He's been given the cold shoulder for the week. Meanwhile, everyone else is telling me how fantastic I look and suddenly the guys are stopping by my desk and inviting me to lunch with them, lending me their juicers, offering to be my movie date once a month......this losing weight thing definitely has some benefits. On the down side, the black satin pants I bought on my Waterloo shopping trip with Sammy for the company holiday lunch in two weeks, no longer fit. I tried them on this week and they're swimming on me. I received a 25% off coupon for Lord & Taylor in the mail today. Looks like next weekend some more shopping needs to take place. This morning the scale said 127.8.

The nurse who inserted the IV for my CAT scan was oohing and ahhing over the scar on my arm. She said she couldn't believe I just had the surgery in July. She claims it looks awesome and that it's the nicest job she has ever seen on that particular surgery. I was telling this to Karen at work and she said that the nurse who took my blood when we had the biometric screening earlier this month had said the exact same thing after I had left the room! I feel like I should swing by the plastic surgeon's office and pass the kudos along to Chrissa. I was so horrified by the surgery site when it first happened that I refused to look at it during the first couple appointments. Chrissa had made a comment jokingly that she was a little hurt because she thought she had done a pretty darned good job. Guess she may have been more serious than joking with that comment and she definitely deserved a little more appreciation than I gave her!

Both our Japanese and Korean service engineers were in town this week along with both my Rochester guys so our boss took us all out to dinner at the Crab Shack (yes, it was my suggestion). I finally got to eat my lobster bisque and thank goodness, it was delicious. My whacked out taste buds didn't screw up that particular flavor which had been worrying me enough to prevent me from going there the past month or so even though I've been craving it. Of course with my walnut sized stomach I only managed 6-7 spoonfuls and then I was stuffed.

I believe that's all the updates for the week. This weekend I'm heading out to a beautiful "log cabin" (I put that in quotes because it's nicer than any house I ever hope to own!) that belongs to my friend Kit and she's going to teach me how to knit the twirly scarves. I'm going to teach her how to play Play 9 and then proceed to trounce her. :-)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November 27 - I had quite an action packed doctor's appointment today!

The PA kicked things off by asking how the pain meds were going. I told her what had been going on, about feeling guilty, feeling like I failed, and wanting someone to outline some expectations for me. In short, she said the nurses shouldn't be making me feel bad for requesting refills but she explained their caution. I guess some of their patients in the past have become addicted, the pain meds were cut off too quickly, and bad things happened. She said they're trying to learn from their mistakes. Also, when controlled substances are prescribed for long periods of time, Dr. A is on the hook to give reasonable explanations for it to whatever authority governs this stuff. Lastly, she said that the words 'as needed for pain' were really important and sometimes patients lose sight of that. Patients who are known drinkers might take the meds to get a high equivalent to what they get when drinking (Yes, there was a pointed look here and I grinned.). The whole healing process goes on for such a long amount of time that it's natural for depression to set in and patient's take the meds to help them feel better. And in that same vein, there's a lot of anxiety involved with this whole cancer adventure so patient's take the meds to calm themselves down. In the end, she said that she can't outline expectations because 'everyone is different' (I'm getting really tired of that cop out.) but that it's important to have continuing conversations with  Dr. A about my pain levels, to be aware of the reason I'm taking the med (and the only reason should be pain) and that if I need pain medicine, then I need pain medicine and that's that.

Then Dr. A came in and of course, immediately commented on the weight loss. I jumped in and told her about the week of vomiting due to the diflucan. I then mentioned that the thrush was back already (maybe never left) and that I was on the second prescription she gave me but at half the dosage. This sidetracked her quite nicely from the weight loss rant. Turns out half a teaspoon a day doesn't do ANYthing and she doesn't know why the cute little Indian doc had prescribed it like that to me the first time around. I asked her if taking the 'miracle mouthwash' in conjunction with the half teaspoon might have a greater effect. She said not really. She then left the room to call a pharmacist. When she came back she verified that a potential side effect of diflucan to sensitive patients can be nausea and vomiting. (No. Really?) She also said she was gong to try me on something different. Thank god! I am now sucking on (5) clotrimazole lozenges a day. Thrush should be gone in 7 days at which point I can suck on (2) lozenges a day as a maintenance to keep it gone. I have a good feeling about this! I can't wait to see what my mouth feels like without thrush because I'm pretty sure I've had it non-stop for many weeks now!

She asked how the pain meds were holding up with the return of the thrush because the thrush causes its own pain as well as amplifies the pain already in my mouth. I told her I still had a dose or two left and that I'm working on weaning myself off of it per nurse Jane's instructions. I then showed her the little log I've been keeping for the past week and a half. Times range anywhere from 5 hours between doses all the way up to 11.5 hours between doses. She told me that trying to wean was fine but I might want to wait until we get rid of the thrush. She said there's absolutely no reason for me to be walking around in pain. (Why do I feel I keep getting mixed messages?!?) She then wrote out a prescription for 750 ml. This surprised me. I told her that nurse Jane had told me that legally they can't prescribe more than 500 ml. Dr. A said she could prescribe me a liter if she wanted to (although the pharmacist probably wouldn't fill the entire thing in one shot) and she doesn't know why Jane told me that.

She then mentioned that Jane had told her that I often take the pain med at night due to the gagging and she asked me how that was going. I told her that I could still feel my tongue touching the back of my throat 24/7 and that I was concerned that after 8 weeks it still wasn't diminishing. She had me hop up on the table to take a look. As soon as I opened my mouth she said "OH. The thrush really is back with a vengeance!". (Yep.) She then stuck a mirror to the back of my mouth and was shining a flashlight in. She said the passageway looked clear to her and that everything was looking really good from a healing standpoint. So I asked her if maybe I could be imagining it? I don't think I am but maybe there's some kind of phantom tongue phenomenon going on? She said no, she doesn't think I'm imagining it and went ahead and set me up to get a contrast CAT scan done tomorrow. She said the imaging will give her a better view of exactly what's going on in the back of my throat. She said if the scan shows that there IS still some excessive swelling going on, then she wants to put me on steroids. She said it's a bit of a bummer because the thrush will definitely come back if I'm on steroids. (Oh, yay.) I mentioned that the cute little Indian doc had put me on a low dose of those the very first time I complained about the gagging thing during radiation and they didn't seem to help. Dr. A said I would be on a much stronger dose this time and hopefully they WOULD help. If they don't, then she's going to call Dr. C who did the surgery and have him take a look at my throat to see what is going on.

So, lots going on! It was a very take-action type of appointment which felt really good. I feel like I've just been plodding along trying to survive my recovery. Now I have hopes of feeling quite a bit better in a very short time. It put me in a really good mood for the rest of the day! I actually found some energy to run some errands and do some cleaning around the house after work. It's amazing how much a good mindset can effect your life.

I had to reschedule my dentist appointment tomorrow due to the scan appointment. Dr. A said she'll call me by the end of the week to discuss the scan results. As soon as I hear something, I'll let you know!

Friday, November 23, 2012

November 23 - Thanksgiving, the holiday that highlights the giving of thanks. :-)

I received numerous Turkey Day wishes yesterday, three of which stood out from the rest. Three different friends were specifically thankful to have ME as a friend. How *bleeping* sweet is that? Kind of hard to continue being a Grumpy Gus, which has been my operating mode all week,  after getting that extra special love.  <3

So, keeping in line with reporting on my health (mostly) in this blog, I paid extra attention today to the improvements that have happened over the past couple of months. Instead of the short and sweet bullet list, I'm going to expand on the points a little:

- I'm really glad the ropey, mucusy saliva crap is pretty much done. It was really gross having to wipe it out with a tissue constantly. And sometimes when I went to talk, my mouth would be all gummed shut and I'd blow a "spit" bubble upon trying to speak. It was SO unattractive. So while I'm still not producing enough spit to masticate and swallow food, I'm supremely happy that the goopy stuff is gone.

- The range of motion in my neck is vastly improved. Looking up is still a little stiff but all the other directions are pretty much back to norm.

- I think the trach scar has faded even more over the past few weeks. I was a little worried that wearing necklaces would draw attention to it but it seems like it will be a non-issue at the rate it's fading.

- It feels so good to be able to close my mouth all the way. I actually ate a baby carrot the other day! Immediately afterwards I had to chug water, ended up choking on a piece, and had to go do the water pik to get the rest of it unglued from the roof of my mouth. But all of that aside, I got to crunch on something! Yay! (And based on all that, I think you can see why I only ate one.)

- I don't even think about the scar on my wrist anymore. I think the car accident when I was 14 helps with that. I already have some serious scars on both legs that I learned to live with so what's one more?

- More and more often I'm sleeping 6-7 hours in a row. Getting some decent sleep helps with mood and energy levels, huge!

- The pain when swallowing is definitely gone. I remember when it was so bad, it was making me cry just to drink water. Heck, even before the surgery, the tumor itself was painful and I had already lost 10 pounds before going to the hospital because the pain curbed my eating.

- I think the mucusitis on my tongue is starting to fade! Maybe. I need to look at it again once the thrush has been banished but I'm pretty sure I noticed an improvement a couple of days ago.

Okay, that's all the good stuff. I'd like to leave it there but it seems like there should be full disclosure.

- The thrush is definitely back in full force. This morning I woke up and my entire tongue was swollen to the point of not being able to talk. The gagging is worse than ever. The mucusitis is "burning" more so than before. AND my tongue started bleeding when I was brushing my teeth this morning which hasn't happened for a while now. I hate thrush. What's worse is that I've been on the meds for 5 days. I'd be fine if I didn't see any improvement yet but things aren't supposed to get worse while on the meds you're taking to fix things, is it?! I wonder if the fact that I'm allergic to a bunch of different antibiotics is making it difficult to prescribe me something that works on clearing this up. I'll have to ask at my appointment on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, taking the 1/2 teaspoon as compared to the full teaspoon definitely did the trick as far as avoiding the nausea/vomiting. So, that's to the good. To the bad, I had been doing well cutting back on the Roxicet and it was going to be no problem making it last until my appointment on Tuesday (which is what Nurse Jane told me I had to do). The full blown thrush made for a very bad day today and now I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the Roxicet lasts until Tuesday. And hopefully she'll refill it! I think I might be getting cut off soon! (I guess I can always drive slowly around my neighborhood with my car alarm going off to let the local drug dealer know that I need to score. And the poker guys didn't think that info would come in handy. Silly them.)

- I've been doing the milkshake every other day. Driving to Micky D's on a daily basis was asking too much of myself. Of course that's probably why I'm still losing weight. Scale today said 128.0. I'm still sucking down smoothies and Carnation drinks too. Because of the the food diary, I had to calculate the calories in the smoothies I've been making. It turns out they only range between 250-300 calories each. So, I'm still working on imbibing as much as possible, it just isn't going fantastically well. I've also tried some other food-foods. Please note the word 'tried', this means I took one, sometimes two bites before giving up. I mentioned the baby carrot above, I also tried some Wegman's homestyle mac and cheese, steamed rice with butter, chicken and rice soup, Mickey D's cheeseburger, fries and apple pie (I couldn't help it, it smelled fantastic!), a sliced and peeled apple with caramel sauce, fresh baked croissant with seafood dip......none of them went over well. They either tasted absolutely disgusting (Mickey D's french fries, much to my horror!) or it was too much trying to chew and swallow them. And after the choking incident yesterday with the carrot, I'm sticking to all liquids again for a while.

- I noticed in the shower today that my hair is still falling out a lot more than normal. I think I read that it's one of the side effects of the thrush medicine. Thank god I have a ton of hair to begin with, otherwise things would be looking pretty ratty right about now.

That's all I have for now. I will report back in after the doc on Tuesday, or maybe after the dentist on Wednesday. It will be good to see how my teeth are doing since radiation can cause you to lose them!

Friday, November 16, 2012

November 16 - Part II - It occurred to me that I don't know what size was being advertised on the sign for the eggnog shake that said 680 calories. So, I Googled the calories in a large. It's actually 1110 calories! I'll be eating one of these every day from here on out!!
November 16 - My man-servant recently commented that he's been failing at life for the past couple of months. I know how he feels. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror yesterday when I was getting in the shower. Ewwwww. I think I'm starting to look like a concentration camp victim. Although that's probably an exaggeration. I just happen to like a little meat not just on myself, but on people I date as well. It's simply my thing. So, I hopped on the scale this morning even though it's only been 5 days of chugging smoothies. I'm down 3 #%&^%$^ pounds! 130.8! WTF?!? I am now totally freaking out.

JT tried to make me feel better by saying maybe it's an 'off' day for weight. Like maybe I'm dehydrated. I started to feel better, for all of 2 second, thinking I might be able to blame it on fluctuations due to my girly thing but then remembered that the girly thing stopped 2 1/2 months ago. Probably because of the damn weight loss!

So today I started a food diary. I'm going to record everything I eat. I checked out one of those maintain weight calorie calculators. I need to eat 1600 calories a day to maintain my current weight. I also stopped at McDonald's at lunch. They have an eggnog milkshake going on right now. 680 calories. YES! Got me one of those, I'm halfway through it. Not sure I'm a fan of eggnog though.......

I feel like I should go back out on short term disability simply to get my eating back on track. It sounds ridiculous, even to my own ears, but this weight thing is becoming a ginormous concern. Luckily I have all of next week off so I'll be able to concentrate on getting food poured into my body.

Had to call in a refill on the pain meds again yesterday. And yes, I was given a hard time once again. This time Nurse Jane told me that I had to make it last until at least my 11/27 appointment. She said I need to start weaning off of it and using Advil instead. I'm now hoarding the damn stuff.

I also talked to her about the gagging again. I feel like the swelling of my tongue is getting worse rather than better! It turns out Addivan IS a controlled substance (I guess all the good stuff is). She basically told me to talk to Dr. A about it at the next appointment. Meanwhile, I was looking at my tongue this morning. I think I still have thrush. I have little groupings of white dots on my tongue which is what Dr. A told me to look for. Not for nothing, but I don't think the thrush actually went away when I was on that last round of meds. Something to talk to Dr. A about I guess. I COULD call in the backup refill that she placed for me but I refuse to take a teaspoonful a day. I would switch myself back to the half teaspoonful like the first time I was on this med, in the hopes that I could prevent the nausea this time around. ****I just called the pharmacy and asked them to fill the backup refill scrip. After typing that it could be a good idea, I decided to go ahead and implement. Anything that has a chance of making me feel better, I'd rather implement sooner rather than later.

Okay, I need to get my butt back to work for the final 1/2 day before a week of nothing! Woo hoo!

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12 - I AM the smoothie queen. Tonight's smoothie was mango, pineapple, kiwi, coconut milk, avocado, cucumber, protein powder, and whole milk. It was a rather unfortunate color, what with all the green stuff, but I just pretended I was celebrating St. Patty's day, and it was all good. ;-P

The avocado was thanks to JBB. She suggested tossing in half of an avocado and some flaxseed oil to ramp up the fat/calorie count in my smoothies. She says they both have very mild flavors, so they're easy to sneak in, while providing Omega 3's and some much needed non-dietetic substance.

I stopped at Wegman's tonight and discovered their Club Pack bags of frozen fruit. I now have two of those babies socked away in the freezer. Should keep me in smoothies for quite some time.

Did not make it to Crab Shack but DID do some food experimenting this past weekend. Saturday was spaghetti. Managed three bites but then had to make a mad dash to the water pik due to it sticking to the roof of my mouth and chugging water was unsuccessful in dislodging it. Sunday was a pancake. Only managed one bite. Meanwhile, the dogs are in 7th heaven eating all of these inedible (by me) dishes.

This coming weekend I'm going to try a pumpkin pie and a cheese pie, sans crusts. I ate both of those items when I was eating soft foods after coming home from the hospital so maybe.....

So, it's Monday, and I weighed in at 133.8 this morning. My goal is to weigh at least that, or maybe 1/2 lb more by next Monday. I'm going to be smoothie crazy this week and see what can be done about this whole weight issue.

Meanwhile, I just need to make it through this week and then I have 9 glorious days of not working. I'm so psyched for the break! Woo hoo!

- I don't think my throat hurts anymore. When my pain meds wear off, it's my tongue that's bothering me, as well as the swelling in my throat, but not actual throat pain.

No Improvements:
- I'm mostly only able to sleep for 3-4 hours at a time.
- Some things taste meh, some things taste okay, some things taste rotten.
- Mucusitis on the good side of my tongue burns.
- My tongue is still swollen and touching the back of my throat, making me gag.
- Diarrhea is still going on.
- I'm still losing weight.
- I'm still using the water pik 3 to 4 times a day to keep my mouth clean.
- I'm still not producing spit.
- Garbled talking.
- Bloated face every morning.

Friday, November 9, 2012

November 9th - Have I mentioned that I can no longer laugh? Really. I physically am unable to laugh. I try and a barking, coughing, choking noise happens. Not cool. I can't call my cats inside anymore either because my voice simply doesn't go high enough to do the "here kitty, kitty, kitty" thing. Not sure if these things are permanent or just due to the swelling that's still going on. Hoping for the latter, obviously.

Pudding went down okay. Didn't taste great but didn't taste awful. Chicken broth not so much. Tasted really rank. Much like the butternut squash bisque. Am now making protein smoothies on a daily basis. (Thanks again Andy and Kim!) Hopefully downing one or two of those a day on top of the Carnation and the other odds and ends I'm trying to add in, will eventually lead to some weight stabilization.

I was carrying a case of water from my car to my cubby. Made it to the break room where Leo happened to be. He asked me if I needed help. My normal response would be to roll my eyes, grin, and say no thanks. My response this time around was a grimace and a yes, please. Leo was just as shocked as I was by this response! I'm sorry but that water was bleeping heavy. The doctor warned me that a lot of my weight loss was likely muscle. She's right. I'm now total wussy girl.

I'm trying really hard to cut back on the Roxicet. Unfortunately, I have found that if I don't take it at night, instead of waking up every 3-4 hours, I wake up every hour and a half. I only put up with that for one night. I was then so miserably tired the next day that I decided it's well worth being given a hard time about the prescription refills so long as I'm sleeping at night. Or sleeping as much as I have been for the past handful of months.

Finally hopped on the scale again. I've been avoiding it since all the vomiting. I'm now down to 134.4. I shed some light on what I thought was a myth. A number of years ago I heard that the clothing industry changed the way they sized clothes due to American women being so consistently overweight. I thought it was a bunch of crap up until I went shopping with Sam 2 weekends ago. I was trying on all size 6 and size 8 clothing at the Waterloo Outlet Mall. In fact, I think I bought a pair of size 6 pants. Then I came home and figured that all the size 8 clothes in my skinny closet must fit too. Nope. I tried on 10 different size 8 pants/jeans from my skinny closet and not one of them fit me. They were all still way too small. I guess the clothing industry HAS changed their sizing specs some time in the past 15 years!! How depressing is that?!

Meanwhile, that was 2 weeks ago and more weight has dropped off since then. Wednesday morning I tried on 5 different pairs of pants, trying to get ready for work. They were all swimming on me. Had to once again raid the skinny closet so I could get my ass to work. Wednesday night, everything from the skinny closet was moved upstairs. So now, instead of a skinny closet, I have a fat closet on the main floor and my wearable closet in my bedroom. If I lose any more weight, I will need to break out the credit card once again and head out to do some shopping because I don't have any more clothes in smaller sizes.

That's all the update I have for now. TGIF. I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend of reading books and conducting more food experiments. I've been wanting to head over to the Crab Shack to try their lobster bisque with warm sherry. I'd be super pysched if that actually tastes okay. If it tastes rank though, I'm going to be bummed for ruining my memories of such a super yummy treat. Decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November 6 - Took a few days but the nausea has finally subsided. Thank God! I actually had a couple of Wegman's bags shoved in my purse when I went to see the Blue Man Group on Saturday because I was so afraid I was going to hurl during the show. I wanted to at least have something to hurl into!

As promised, I just tried uploading a couple of pics of CK, El, and me (5 times!) and Google does not seem to want to cooperate tonight. Sorry folks. If I remember, I'll see if they will attach next post.

Sunday was spent in bed. It was a gloomy, rainy day and the nausea was still hanging on so it seemed like the thing to do.

Yesterday morning I ate a yogurt and it actually stayed down. Woo hoo! I also called the doc to see about getting the Roxicet prescription refilled. Nurse Jane called back and left a message on my home machine instead of calling me at work (not helpful!). Even worse, her message when I finally arrived home at 5:30 and listened to it was "We JUST refilled this for you on 10/26.". UGH! I girded my loins this morning and decided some heads were going to roll because it's a bunch of bullshit that after all the crap I've been through, and am still going through, that these stupid nurses continue to make me feel like I'm trying to pull one over on them when I call for a scrip refill. So today, I spoke with Nurse Jane directly. I went through the math with her and explained that the prescription should have only lasted me 8 days and I had made it last 11 days and asked her why I was being made to feel like I was doing something wrong every time I called in. Unfortunately, my bitchy stance was slightly undercut when I burst into tears on the phone. Yeah, I'm a little down this week. Anywho, she immediately started reassuring me that I wasn't doing anything wrong. She said my math was spot on and that 6 weeks after radiation isn't all that long and she said feeling better is just going to take time, blah, blah, blah. So, I once again have pain meds but I'll bet you dinner that the next time I call in, they're going to make me feel like crap again. Stupid nurses.

Nurse Jane asked if I was really still in that much pain. I told her that during the day I can make it 6-7 hours between doses before my tongue starts burning like crazy. I told her I take it more often at night because I can only sleep for 2-4 hours at a time due to the gagging from my swollen tongue. Taking the Roxicet makes me not notice the tongue touching the back of my throat so much. She asked if I had talked to Dr. A about the swelling. I said yes and Dr. A said it was thrush and put me on medication (that caused extreme vomiting!). Now the thrush is gone, and my tongue is still swollen and touching the back of my throat. I think I'm going to ask Dr. A about getting a scrip for Ativan or something to help me sleep instead of the Roxicet. Unless Ativan is an addictive, controlled substance as well. I don't want to trade one demon for another. But I'm wondering if the Roxicet is causing the swelling........

I experimented with more foods over the past couple of days. It seems like more taste is coming back. Maybe even a little sweet! I drank an iced coffee and actually somewhat enjoyed it! Tried some butternut squash bisque. It had quite a strong flavor but unfortunately, it was not a good flavor. Same thing with the lemon sherbet that I tried. Today I picked up some pudding cups and some chicken broth. They're on the list of things to try next. I'm dying to eat a baked potato with butter and sour cream but with no saliva, foods like that are just too difficult to eat. They become a lump of sawdust stuck to the roof of my mouth that it then takes a half gallon of water to wash down. :-(

- Ropey saliva is getting less prevalent. Now I just wish regular saliva would start showing up.
- Mucus build up is also getting less prevalent. Rarely need to wipe my mouth out with tissues anymore.
- More flavor seems to be coming back in regards to food.

No Improvements:
- Swallowing is painful.
- I'm mostly only able to sleep for 3-4 hours at a time.
- Things still taste pretty gross.
- Mucusitis on the good side of my tongue burns.
- My tongue is still swollen and touching the back of my throat, making me gag.
- Diarrhea is still going on.
- I'm still losing weight.
 - I'm still using the water pik 3 to 4 times a day to keep my mouth clean.
- I'm still not producing spit.
- And even if my coworkers say I'm sounding better every day, I still sound garbled to my own ears.
- Every morning when I wake up, not only do I have fluid buildup in my neck and chin, it's also on my jawline, jowls and cheeks. The lower half of my face is hugely bloated every morning!! The worst of it eventually subsides within an hour or two.

Friday, November 2, 2012

November 2 - Pride is one of the 7 sins, isn't it?

I was put back in my place after being so proud of eating a yogurt, by being up at 2 AM the following morning, dry heaving for a full 5 minutes. Quite an unpleasant experience. So, I stuck to the Carnation drinks on Wednesday and then decided to try out the juicer last night.

Turns out I'm not a fan of the juicer. My experiment last night included 2 oranges, 2 small honey crisp apples, and a handful of raspberries. The juice comes out a little thicker in texture than I'm mentally ready to deal with. Not to mention fruits are very acidic so my tongue was unhappy with me for testing it last night. Plus the cleanup on the equipment was a pain in the butt. And it seems like there's not a lot of bang for the buck given how expensive fruit is. All in all, I've decided to stick with my smoothies. It was definitely a fun experience testing out Messner's juicer though and hey, he saved me $70 because I now took mine off my Amazon shopping list!

So last night's smoothie was 2 bananas, a snack size container of pineapple tidbits, 5 ice cubes, a glug of coconut milk, a glug of apple juice, and a glug of regular milk. It was pretty yummy although the bananas were not quite ripe enough. I hate that Wegman's only ever has green bananas so you have to know 3 days in advance if you're going to need one. Anywho......I was up at 4 AM this morning, dry heaving my poor, little guts out. WTH?!?

I've been feeling nauseous off and on for over a week now. Kept thinking I was maybe coming down with something. Then after this morning's second dry heave experience I decided that maybe it's just my body rejecting real food although I was feeling nauseous before I started trying to eat real food. Luckily, Kunkel came to my rescue today. She asked what the side effects were of the medicine I'm on for thrush. It hadn't occurred to me that it could be the culprit because there was no nausea the last time I was taking it. Then I remembered that I'm taking double the dose in a shorter time period which could make a difference. Sure enough, Kunkel Googled it for me right then and there and the number one side effect of fluconazole is nausea and vomiting! It's such a relief to know what the problem is! Happily, today was my last dose of that stuff so hopefully the nausea will clear up over the weekend. I will resume trying to eat on Monday.

So, no pictures for this post. Based on what was being discussed, I'm sure you're all relieved by that. ;-P Tomorrow I'm heading out to see the Blue Man Group with Kunkel and Elvisa. Should be a blast and I'll def have some photo opportunities there to share in the next post!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October 30 - I ate a yogurt! Yes, an entire 6 oz container of key lime flavored yogurt. Just now. Yep, me. I'm very proud. Can you tell?

It tasted like crud and by the end, my tongue was starting to hurt from the swallowing motion, but I muscled my way through. I'm really relieved that I finally ate something substantial! I've tried soup, grits, mac and cheese, cheesy rice, mashed potatoes and gravy. Nothing seems to want to go down. I get nauseous just smelling half those foods. So, at least I have a positive report on my homework the next time I see Dr. A. And I can start supplementing the Carnation drinks with yogurts throughout the day. Woo hoo!

I MEANT to try out the juicer on Sunday but after 7 straight hours of shopping with Sam on Saturday....yeah, Sunday found me in bed all day long. I have a juice bible arriving from Amazon tomorrow though so juicing is definitely coming up within the next few days. It too will be a great supplement to my diet!

That's it for now. Just a quickie. But really wanted to announce the yogurt consumption. :-)

Friday, October 26, 2012

October 26 - TGIF! And be warned I've been Chatty Cathy all day today so go get yourself a snack and a drink before you sit down to read this.

I was looking at my Roxicet bottle yesterday (Thursday) and it occurred to me that based on what was in there, I was going to run out this weekend. Again. Um, yeah, over my dead body! Called the doctor's office and told them I was going to need a refill. They said they would have a nurse call me back as soon as one was available. An hour later Nurse Darlene called and told me that I had already picked up my prescription on Monday and that I was all set. I told her no, I was not all set, that I didn't have enough for the weekend. She suddenly starts copping just a dash of 'tude:

"You used all of it already??"
"No, I still have 100 ml left but if I'm taking between 40-60 ml a day, it's not enough to get through the weekend."
"But you just got a refill on Monday so you should be okay."
"The refill was only for 300 ml so I'm not okay." 
"Well, I'm going to have to talk to the doctor about this 'situation' and get back to you."
"Okeydoke, you do that."

Really? She thinks I'm 'scoring' my next batch of Roxicet to sell on the streets this weekend? Whatever. She called back an hour later and very politely told me my prescription was ready for me to pick up and they had increased it back up to the 500 ml instead of the 300 ml I received the last two times.Thank you. But the fun continues. When I went to pick it up, she personally came out to hand it to me and then started babbling about an alert. Something to the effect of the thrush medication and the Roxicet reacting with each other. Okay, so what should I be on the lookout for? Honestly, it wasn't really clear. I've never heard anyone communicate quite that badly. At one point she mentioned that she was concerned that I was going to be alone and that I would fall asleep and be unwakeable. Is that even a word?? Unwakeable? And what the hell does that mean? By mixing these two medicines I'm going to fall into a coma? She finally wound down and told me that she was going to call Wegman's and have the pharmacist talk to me about it. Thank God because she was making no sense whatsoever. Long story short, as my friend JBB always says, the side effects are increased drowsiness and possibly spacing out. The pharmacist said that if any of my coworkers/friends tell me I'm acting weird or out of it, I should call my doc. That's fine. Meanwhile, I was on both of these medications at the same time 9 or 10 weeks ago when I got the thrush the first time and I didn't notice any ill effects so I'm not worried about it this time around.

I've decided that I need to post more pictures in my blog. Some of my readers see me on a daily basis so they can see how I'm doing. And some of my readers are FB friends so they get to see some pictures on there from time to time. But some of my readers don't fall into either category and are totally missing out on stuff. Plus, pictures simply make things more fun! So, I was telling you that the nurse at the biometric screening said my arm looked great and I think the Mederma actually works. Here's a pic so you can judge for yourself.

So, Dr. A told me that if I'm down another 7 pounds when I go back to see her in 5 weeks that I will then be "too skinny". And the word bubble that magically appeared above her head said that she would be very unhappy with me. All she needed was a rolled up newspaper to shake at me and the picture would have been complete. I understand that losing a lot of weight while my body is trying to heal itself is a bad thing. I'm honestly trying to give my body the nutrients/sustenance/fuel/etc. it needs while balancing my pain/comfort levels. But she didn't say anything along that line of thinking. Her comment, very specifically, was that I would be too skinny. And being the contrary brat that I am, I went Googling.

First of all, my BMI is currently 24.1 and 25 is when you are considered overweight so I am still on the high end of the normal weight spectrum. I also looked up numerous different height and weight charts, frame sizes, etc. Medical sources say I should weigh between 111-146, insurance sites say I should weigh between 127-141, everyone seems to have these really broad ranges and I wanted a smaller target to shoot at. After collecting a bunch of data, I've decided that weighing between 125-135 is probably the healthiest weight for me. So, if I lose another 7 pounds over the next 5 weeks I will then weigh 133 which is within this range I am giving myself (BMI = 22.8) and it is NOT too skinny. Of course I am going to try not to lose any more weight. The point is, if it happens, I won't be getting gray hair thinking that I'm suddenly underweight based on Dr. A's comment.

Okay, let's break for fun stuff. Kit and I went to Nightmare Manor last night. What a blast! She was the brave one and led the way. There may have been some hand clasping and clutching each other in a few areas as well as turning tail and running in a few other areas but mostly we were a couple of independent, kick ass women, taking a haunted house by storm! ;-)

Today I got back the results from the biometric screening. There are 8 different things they look at ranging from blood pressure, to glucose, to cholesterol. Last year everything on it was green except my BMI due to my weight. This year, everything is green except my triglycerides. The report says anything under 150 is good and mine are at 159. The report doesn't really tell you what could be causing them to be high or how to reduce them. All it says is "...there are times when you are at greater risk for experiencing a cardiovascular event...". Something to ask Dr. Pebble about when I see her in the spring.

When I got to work this morning there was a large box sitting on my desk with a note from Messner, one of our Engineers. It said "Cathy, I just bought this but I'm headed to Japan. I thought you might want to test it out for me and let me know what you think.". I opened the box and it's a juicer! Oh the fun I will have! That's my big plan for Sunday. I'm going to Google juicing recipes and pick out 2-3 faves, pop over to the store for ingredients, and then juice away! I actually have a juicer picked out on Amazon but I haven't purchased it yet. If I like his, I might go ahead and bite the bullet because juice is definitely something I can ingest. Speaking of which.....

I decided I had better get a little more serious about the eating homework Dr. A gave me. Especially since I only have the weekends to do it. When I tried eating soup last Thursday, I was up gagging all that night because it caused my tongue to swell. Dr. A said that was normal and it would continue to happen because my swallowing muscles are all weak and wussy from so little use for months on end. So, I will be attempting to eat on the weekends, when being up all night gagging isn't going to make me late-for or useless-at work. Tonight I made Creamy Chicken Rice. Meh. I think I managed to eat one, possibly two spoonfuls. I then made a packet of grits with butter. Ooh! This has possibilities! I bought the instant grits in the single serve packets. They were lumpy and clumpy and kind of gooey. I'm going to buy a container of real grits that you cook on top of the stove and see if they're smoother. If yes, then this is definitely something I could eat. I managed 4 full spoonfuls of this. I also bought a box of Farina because Dr. A said that it's smoother and creamier than grits. It's on the test panel for tomorrow. I had told Dr. A that finding food to test is a little tricky because I can't taste 'sweet' at all. So, when I try to eat something sweet like applesauce, ice cream,'s disgusting. So she and I sat there for a good 5 minutes wracking our brains, trying to think of liquid/soft foods that don't lean towards sweet, definitely not an easy task.

Okay, we're going to end on a fun note too. Kunkel is cleaning out her closets again. This always bodes well for me since I happily accept all hand-me-downs and this woman has an eye for style like you wouldn't believe! (I think the only reason I own anything classy is because she gave it to me!) Today, I was the recipient of 4 dresses. I found the dress choices interesting and am wondering if there is a hidden meaning behind them. Below are pics that I have placed in 'wearing' order. Observe and see if you're getting the same hidden meaning as I did.......

You get up in the morning and stretch. Grab the closest, comfy, casual article of clothing within reach and pull it over your head. You then wander out barefoot to your balcony where coffee and croissants await you:
After breakfast you decide it's a beautiful day for the beach. You shimmy into your bikini and pull on a light and fun sundress as a coverup for the walk down the gangplank:
Frolicking in the surf and lounging in the sun all day can really make a gal thirsty. And oh look, it's happy hour. Time to get back on board, freshen up, and find a cocktail:
Ah, it's elegant night. The one night that formal attire is requested for the dining room. I believe I packed just the thing:

Well? Is it just me? I swear those dresses are screaming for me to book a cruise! White sand, magic shows, sunbathing, slot machines, quiet corners with a book, hip hop dancing in the club, cocktail specials every day, swimming with the stingrays, movies and popcorn on the deck, zip-lining...........I'm off to bed. I will be dreaming of blue, blue water tonight..........

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 24 - Woke up today and my tongue was swollen to twice its normal size. Spent half the day trying to figure out what could have caused it. I didn't eat or drink anything out of the ordinary. I used Colgate Total at lunch yesterday to brush my teeth when I usually use Colgate Original but if I was going to have a reaction, you would think it would happen much sooner than 16+ hours later. Luckily, I had a checkup appt. scheduled with Dr. A this afternoon. Unluckily, it turns out I have thrush again which is what caused the swelling. Sigh.

So I'm back on thrush medicine. Happily she went straight to the good stuff this time and she doubled the dose so that it will hopefully work faster in a shorter period of time. On top of that, she showed me in the mirror exactly what the thrush looks like and put some refills on the prescription. She said if I see it come back yet again after we clean up this current round, to just go ahead, call in the refill, and self medicate. She also said that I should replace my toothbrush, otherwise I'm just inviting the thrush back in. Would have been nice if my cute little Indian doc had mentioned this the first time I had thrush although I guess it should have occurred to me. Alas, I freely admit that I'm not the brightest crayon in the box. :-)

I totally forgot to put heavy stuff in my pockets today. I was wearing a windbreaker instead of my leather jacket and lighter shoes too. Needless to say, I received a stern talking to about my weight. Supposedly I've lost 7 pounds in the past 2 weeks. I know this isn't true. As previously mentioned I've lost 2 pounds at the most. Whatever. My next appointment is 5 weeks away. Hopefully by then I'll be eating some real food like mashed potatoes and gravy or soup, and the weight loss will no longer be a bone of contention.

We had voluntary biometric screenings at work yesterday (if you get screened, you get a discount on your insurance!). I pulled up my sleeve so the nurse could take my blood pressure. I saw her eyeballing my scar and I think there was a brief internal struggle as to whether she should ask me about it or not. She finally did and I told her. She asked how long ago the surgery was and I told her July. She was really surprised! She said the scar looks fantastic for a surgery that recent. She really thought it was much older than that. Score another thumb's up for Mederma. That stuff rocks!

And let's end today's blog with an observation on hugs. Yes, hugs. Due to my adventure, there has been a lot of hugging going on in my life. Three coworkers in particular hug me on a weekly if not daily basis. I feel that all of this hugging is turning me into somewhat of a connoisseur and I wanted to give out some props where props are due. I was feeling a bit blue last week so I headed back to the Operations office where my buddy H sits. He is one of the coworkers that freely gives me hugs all week long. Unfortunately, he wasn't there. Neither was Tim, who is good for an occasional hug. The only employee back there was Al who does not give off vibes conducive to hugging. I said to hell with it and told him I was in dire need of a hug. Can I tell you, it was one of the best hugs I've ever received?? I had no idea there was an art to hugging but whatever it is, Al's got it. Mind you, I still love all the other hugs I get, they're GREAT hugs. I'm just saying the Al hug I received was AWESOME. And with that, I bid you adieu.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 21 - The Advil didn't do squat. I was in a living hell from 8:00 am Sunday until noon today. I will be keeping a much closer eye on the level of my pain meds from here on out. I guess it's kind of nice to know exactly how much they're helping me although I was a little surprised to find out that they're helping A LOT. You'd think the pain would be starting to tone down by now. Not so much. Have you ever accidentally touched a hot burner on the stove? That's what the entire left side of my tongue feels like with no pain meds in my system. GAH! And the gagging thing was 100x worse than usual. I was up every 45 minutes to an hour last night. Made for a very long night and a very tired and unhappy camper today. Probably heading to bed soon.

On a happy note, I came home to find a package on my porch. My Mom sent me SIX boxes of Carnation instant breakfast packets! Thanks Mom! It made me realize that the reminder e-mail I had sent myself at work never arrived. It must have gotten caught in our spam filter so I had once again forgotten all about buying these. I now have sustenance for the next 3-4 weeks and it's good to know what these things look like so that it will be easier to find them in the store when I need more. Good stuff!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

October 21 - I took my last dose of pain medicine at 4:00 am this morning. Not good. I didn't realize I was so close to running out. I think it's because Dr. A only prescribed 300 ml whereas nurse Anne has been prescribing 500ml. Today and tomorrow are probably not going to be all that much fun. Hopefully the Advil does a better job than its been doing.

Had my appointment with PA Erin on Friday. Actually, I initially met with some other PA. Nothing makes you feel as special as having a doctor walk in and ask you when your radiation treatments start. If you can't take the time to read my file before I get there then I didn't have time to stop at the bank for your $40 co-pay. Jerks.

Anyway, she was talking about doing a scope and I told her that was fine as long as they handed me a garbage can ahead of time because I was pretty sure I would be throwing up. (Side note: Thursday night I managed to eat about 1/3 c. of tomato basil soup at Applebee's. I was then up all night gagging because my tongue touching the back of my throat was much worse than usual.) She decided not to do the scope.

She asked me when my next appointment with Dr. V (plastic surgeon) was. I told her I had graduated from him and wouldn't be seeing him again. She looked at the scars on my neck and exclaimed that they looked great. I told her Dr. V didn't agree and pointed out the two inch spot where the skin got sucked under when my neck got infected twice. I told her Dr. V told me to come back and see him in 6 months and he could do some cleanup. She claims you have to look really close to even see what I'm talking about. I'm going to have to ask the peeps at work. I notice it as soon as I look in the mirror. I will take a poll and get a majority ruling.

I told her that Dr. C had said most of the swelling would go down in 3 months and it's been 3.5 months. She confirmed that the radiation exacerbates things and that the swelling would continue to go down now. I asked if I would ever speak normally again and she said that I will see some improvement as the swelling continues to go down but I'm not likely to ever speak normally again. That was a bummer to hear. :-(

Then she started feeling up my neck, my face, my shoulders, etc. Like a breast exam except higher up. She asked if I had been doing this at home as well. I told her that nobody had told me I should and I really didn't like anyone touching the incision sites, including myself.  She said it wasn't necessary, some people just like to continuously check what's going on. Yeah, no thanks. So there was one spot on the right side that she kept pressing and asking if it hurt. It didn't. She then left and got PA Erin.

PA Erin started feeling me up in the same spot at which point I got a little worried. I think PA Erin felt me tensing up because she stopped pressing, patted me on the shoulder, and told me it was nothing. Then she told the other PA that because my neck is so skinny, every little bump can be felt, and there was nothing to worry about.

Speaking of skinny, I haven't quite stopped the weight loss but I've slowed it way down. I weighed myself on 10/11 and I weighed 142.0. This morning I weighed in at 140.8. Just a little over 1 pound in a week and a half is not bad. I've been avoiding the scale lately because I'm tired of seeing it go down. I feel like I'm trapped in Stephen King's novel "Thinner". Creepy stuff.

PA Erin asked me what was going on with food intake. I told her I drink a ton of water and (3) Ensure's a day. She got really excited and told me I'm doing fantastic! She said normally at this point, people aren't eating anything whatsoever. I'm going to take her excitement with a grain of salt. Dr. A, the head radiation chick, was not nearly as excited and wants me to try and bump up to (4) Ensure's a day so it can't be THAT uncommon.

Side note: I had told Dr. A about my craving for a root beer and how badly it hurt when I tried to drink one. She said it wasn't actually the soda that hurt but the fizzy. She told me to let it go flat and try again. She was right but flat root beer tastes terrible. Flat Sprite on the other hand is pretty darned good. I can actually taste a little bit of the lemon-lime flavor. I'm drinking my third one this weekend right now as I type. :-)

PA Erin also looked at my arm scar and asked if I was using anything on it. I told her I had been using Mederma but hadn't used it in a couple of weeks now. She said Mederma is good (and gave me a couple of coupons) but something called ScarFade works as well and it's cheaper (she gave me a free sample). Sammy was right and the improvements that I thought I was imagining may have been real!!

All in all it was kind of a lame appointment. They want me back in 3 months so they can do a scope and see what's going on.

- Once in the past week I actually slept for a solid 7 hours!
- Throat is still painful but I'm removing the word extremely.
- I'm removing the word everything and putting in most things for the 'tastes disgusting' as I sit here sipping my Sprite. :-)

No Improvements:
- Swallowing is painful
- I'm mostly only able to sleep for 3-4 hours at a time.
- Most things still tastes disgusting.
- Mucusitis on the good side of my tongue.
- My tongue is still swollen and touching the back of my throat, making me gag.
- Diarrhea is still going on.
- I'm still losing weight a little bit of weight
 - I'm still using the water pik 4 to 5 times a day to blow the ropey saliva and mucus build-up out of my mouth.
- I'm still not producing spit.
- And even if my coworkers say I'm sounding better every day, I still sound garbled to my own ears.

Other than that, I've been trying to fill my calendar with fun plans to take my mind off of how slow the healing is progressing. This coming weekend is shopping at Waterloo with Sammy, the weekend after is the Blue Man Group with Patty and Terri, a couple of weekends after that I'm in Liverpool for a day of board games with Sandi, and the weekend after Thanksgiving I'll be at a cabin on the lake with Kit learning how to knit a scarf. Good stuff!