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archive for health

for barbara

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Recipe: cucumber shrimp rolls

My dearest Barbara,

We’ve never met. But we are friends. I checked Google Maps and they say you are a 13,804-mile trip from my house in Colorado. But you really aren’t so far from me.

Did you know that while my house sits at 8500 feet above sea-level and you live on the waterfront, I still look up to you?

In Google’s directions to your place, I have three segments of kayaking several thousand miles across the Pacific Ocean. And every stroke would be worth it.

spring clover in california

**Jump for more butter**

what it means to me

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Lately I’ve felt as if I want to punch my surgeon. No, not Dr. McHottie, but my regular surgeon. I have all sorts of issues right now because of lymphedema in my left arm since my surgeon removed all of the lymph nodes in my arm pit. One of the nodes had cancer. When you first get a diagnosis and they tell you, “this needs to be removed” you just think, “yeah, do it.” You don’t think much about the potential side-effects down the road because you just want there to be a down the road. Of course, I don’t blame my surgeon for any of this – I’m quite grateful to him for my life, really. And he’s a good guy. It’s just that I have a desire to punch something that I can’t strike out at.

My past year has really brought home to me the relativity of our experiences. When Mom complained about having a head cold to me over the phone in the midst of my chemo treatment, I just pursed my lips and kept my mouth shut. I got a ton of emails from “friends” who didn’t really keep in touch with me asking, “So are you all better now?” It doesn’t quite work that way. I have scars and burns and tattoos on my body. The smell of certain liquid soaps brings me back to the sick feeling of my treatments. When I began to correspond with dear Barbara about her cancer, she mentioned a numbness in her feet that she still has three years after her chemo. I have that same problem with my feet, and it has only been 5 months.

**Jump for more butter**

not dead

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Recipe: tofu fish

Long hiatus, I know. That’s what happens when you have major surgery. Apologies for the silence. I haven’t been on the blog at all and barely looked at my email in the past week. It’s all piling up and I’m not overly concerned at the moment. Thanks for all of your notes and comments.

I was in the hospital for 5 days with all manner of nurses “caring” for me round the clock while I endured some pretty horrific pain. [Caring is in quotes because I really believe if left in the hands of some of those nurses for more than a 12 hour shift I would indeed be dead by now.] Because it was emergency surgery, I got the surgeon on-call instead of my normal surgeon. Funny how some people have an accountant or an attorney, but me? I have a surgeon. I prefer my normal surgeon, but more than that, I prefer no surgery, no staples down my belly, no incapacitating pain when I sit up or stand.

I had mentioned a while back that we were preparing for a slew of visitors. Our first visitor, my dear friend Mitch, arrived in Boulder the night I went to the ER and flew home to London while I was still in the damn hospital – but we were able to share some QT while I was hooked up to oxygen, IV, O2 monitor, catheter, morphine, etc. I managed to get home right before Jeremy had to go on travel for a very important something or other (mum’s the word still), so my aunt came to stay with me until he returned this weekend. Now my parents are visiting. If ever you wondered how I got to be so hyper and full of energy, I point you to my mom and dad.

Kaweah was confused and a little depressed while I was away, but upon my return she has been quite pleased with all of the visitors and extra attention. Plus, while Jeremy was out of town, she snuggled up next to me on the bed each night, although she nearly killed me on Thursday when she shoved her chin on my abdomen and tried to hoist herself closer.

a puppy heals you faster than any drug

**Jump for more butter**