Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thoughts on marriage

Today marks one week that I have been back in class. I am still longing for that one last week of vacation though. Thankfully, we have Monday off so I will enjoy that. Hubby and I will celebrate our 6 year anniversary on Saturday. I love that man more everyday. :-) It is sad that marriage gets such a bad rap from so many. Granted, many have horrible experiences. I hate to see these people who get married just to get married. There are so many women that I see that are in love with the idea of love and marriage and consequently their standards drop or disappear altogether. People often tell me/us that they hope their marriage is as good as ours is or that our marriage makes them want to get married. Even more ask what the "secret" is or how you know it's the right person. Obviously, it is incredibly flattering to hear the nice things people say about our marriage and I am so thrilled and grateful that our marriage actually is as happy as it seems. But, the question about how one "knows" that someone is the "one" for them is the key to it all. If there was an answer to this question that were fail-safe, a lot of problems would be avoided.

Unfortunately, the only answer I have is the one that was given to me .... "You just know."

I hated that answer when I was single. It actually made me nervous...I began thinking too hard. I was proposed to a couple of times before I met my husband and could have very easily made a horrible, horrible mistake. I asked the same question that people ask me now. "How do you just know?" I don't have a good answer to that. But, I did know when I knew. Unequivocally. It was a knowing that I had never experienced before and never since...regardless of the matter at hand.

My husband answers the question in a different way. His answer is "You can't imagine not being with this person for the rest of your life." (It sure does sound better when he says it.)

Now, I am going to return to watching "Welcome to The Parker." There is a really diva-dude on this episode. Adios.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Livestrong and dying.

I know the "trend" is long gone. I have never been one for trends, nor did I wear it initially because of some "trend" that may or may not have been in existence. Either way, my LIVESTRONG bracelet has been back on my wrist for a couple of weeks now. Classes began on Thursday and I have been able to keep Kate's plight from destroying my concentration so far. I did break down while discussing the situation with a friend of mine. I am having trouble finding a counselor though. I think I may just give up on the idea. Suffer through and learn to deal.

I saw a new ophthalmologist this week...I think I mentioned the fact that I was going to a few days ago. I was sorry to leave my previous one, but the drive is nearly 6 hours one way on an average traffic day. This new one is very nice and apparently quite capable. My Rx didn't change, but I did score a shadowing gig. I was surprised that my eyes hadn't changed, but that is just one more year that I am one step further from blindness. ;) I did opt to get some new frames to give me an optional look. The last time I got new frames, I just got the same ones that I had so that I wouldn't have to go searching for a particular pair...everything was the same. Call me daring...I went "trendy" as my mom said. Whatever. I would love to be able to wear contacts, I really dislike having something on my face especially in hot weather. But, because of the prisms my prescription can not be made into contacts. Weird.

My mom called Wednesday. The memorial service was held that morning. I didn't go for good reason - it is 1500 miles away. Unfortunately, it was determined that Judy was in fact murdered. A horrible ending to a sad, sad, sad life. "Sad" is perhaps not the right word. "Tragic" is more like it. She was not a sad person nor were you in her presence.

Enough. Enough. I really need to stop here. I guess my mind knew it had the opportunity to be sad today and seized it. As pathetic as it sounds, I think I will wrap up here and have a good cry. Sometimes, that is the best thing.


Thursday, August 23, 2007


A few days ago, I posted a video of Joseph's Lullaby. After looking at the project more and watching a video of a CBC story about it, I found out that there was another video that the public had contributed to. I have found it...finally. Please watch it below. Hope.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Today is my last day of freedom before the fall semester begins. How have I spent it? Well, there was the expensive vet visit this morning. I swear they start seeing dollar signs the second I pull into the parking lot. I have spent the last couple of hours lying in bed resting...sort of sleeping, sort of not. This evening, hubby and I are going to go to run some errands. We are looking for a new elliptical trainer since ours finally said "Enough." I can't blame it. After 2 moves, it was in pretty sad shape. We are looking at a pretty high end one this time which makes me sick to my stomach. I mean, of course I want one that will last and is good quality, but geez! How expensive!! Ugh.

I am watching one of my thrills of television. Crazy, perhaps...but I love King of the Hill . Maybe it is due to my upbringing in Texas and knowing how true to life the cartoon actually is. So funny. Hank Hill reminds me of my brother in law. So funny!! I have never been one to be a trend follower, I am so far out of it that my efforts are a joke. I march to the beat of my own drummer...whether I want to or not. (That comment made a heck of a lot more sense in my head than it did on the screen considering I am thinking a heck of a lot more than I am typing.) Oh well.

I am looking forward to this semester. I really wish I could just have one more week off though. Not a lot, but one. I had a 3 week vacation which is more than hubby had and certainly more than most people my age have at this time in their life, but bummer. Anyway, I am looking forward to the semester.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pretty random stuff

It is so much fun to read books. I know that may seem to some to be a ridiculous statement, but I couldn't for the majority of my life so doing so now is sheer pleasure. I am 3 deep into a run of works that have been spectacular. Currently, I am about halfway through Jerome Groopman's "How Doctors Think." An excellent book...a wonderful mix of theory and practical illustration. As of Thursday, my free time that I have put toward reading for pleasure will be occupied by Physics, Chemistry and Human Bio lab. This semester, I am also retaking a course from my ugrad univ that I did pitifully in. I will be taking it by correspondence much like I did with Pre-Calc this summer.

Hubby's 40th birthday is in November. I love telling people that he is almost 40 because he looks so much younger. He hates me doing it, but this guy is mistaken for his 20s regularly. I am so envious of his ridiculously smooth skin which he does not have to work for at all. Granted, I am sure his cool demeanor doesn't hurt. His mom's skin was the same way so I assume it is a genetic windfall. She was of Lebanese decent. Sadly, both of his parents have passed and will not be here to celebrate my husband's 40th. I am throwing a surprise party and my parents are flying up to be here. It is quite a trip, so I hope that it means something to him. My sister will be 7.5 months pregnant by then, so a visit from them is not possible. I hope that it is a meaningful birthday for him. I have not yet chosen a caterer, but have a bit of time. I would love to think that we would be able to spill outdoors for this soiree, but seeing that it will be in November and we live in the Mid-Atlantic, I am not too optimistic about that possibility. I thought about having it at a restaurant, but I hate that feel. I am actually considering having it at our church where we are both very active. There is ample banquet space there and better parking than at our house. Not to mention, "dropping by church" wouldn't be such a big deal. I don't know. I don't know that I really like that feel either. I suppose that I need to generate a guest list and see what kind of space we will need. Our house is adequate for us...about 2100 sq.ft. But, it is 3 stories plus a basement and a lot of stairs. We take 3 bedrooms and use all the for the master, another for the gym, and the last for my office and to house part of our library. I realized that we needed more room the moment we moved in. We have a media room and an unfinished basement which is not included in the square footage, nor should it be since it is a giant mess. I don't know if our finished attic is included or not. Either way, it is not conducive to having a large number of people over without the option to go outside. Our property is wonderful. We have a large back yard with a sitting area and a pond, but in mid-November it does little good.

Tonight, I am going to church to make mosaic stepping stones to be sold as a fundraiser for our mission team that will be heading back to the Gulf Coast to continue to help rebuild Katrina ravaged areas. I wish I could go, but it is 8 days out of the semester that I just don't think I can afford to miss. I will be doing some volunteer work here though. I will be back at XYZ Cancer Center and tutoring inner city kids once a week.

Kate has not left my mind. I am learning to compartmentalize a bit better, but not adequately yet when it comes to this. Thank you to all who have commented that you are thinking and praying for her/me. It really means a lot.

Today. Part I

I begin classes this week. So, these are my last 3 "free" days. I have an ophthalmologist appointment tomorrow just outside of town (why can't I find an ophtho somewhere closer?). Actually, I am looking forward to seeing this doc. She is a D.O. We'll see if there is any difference in approach, at least from this one doc's standpoint. Undoubtedly, she will be altering my prescription so tomorrow afternoon will be dedicated to getting my new glasses and such. I am not a big fan of wearing glasses, but my Rx can't be made into contacts and I am a fan of seeing. ;-) Funny, Kate was the one who finally believed me about my eyes. It took nearly 20 years for someone to finally believe that I actually couldn't see the way I was describing. In case you didn't know, she was my doc before she became my mentor. Some people think this is not the way it should be and denigrate the relationship because this is how it evolved, but I think little of them.

Anyway, I will be replacing the lenses in my existing frames, getting some new ones because of the little episode in this post, and replacing the lenses in my sunglasses.

I had so much more to write when I began this post, but somehow it left me. I will post again later.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Another book recommendation

I just finished reading "The Anatomy of Hope" by Jerome Groopman, M.D.. Kate said she had read it, found it to be wonderful and suggested that I try it out. She has suggested Groopman's books in the past, but it wasn't until my husband read "How Doctors Think" that I began reading his work. Dr. Groopman is a regular contributor to The New Yorker to which I subscribe but sadly rarely read. I found myself pulling for the patients in the book and becoming angry with them on occasion. You am sure that you will too. If "Final Exam" was 5 stars, I would say that "The Anatomy of Hope" scores 4 stars. Definitely a must read for anyone with half an interest in medicine or psychology.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Perhaps my mind is a bit preoccupied with cancer right now. But, I found this and it is amazing. The story on

Moving on and holding on

I just want to get something straight that I am sure some are thinking...YES, I KNOW THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME! This blog is comprised of MY thoughts and MY feelings from MY perspective so it is not objective in any way. Now, with that out of the way...

I am feeling emotionally and physically exhausted, but much better overall. The care package was a huge hit and that made me so happy. Obviously, I saw Kate today. It was a rather tearful encounter, but it wouldn't have been had she not pushed me. I told her repeatedly that I didn't want to talk about how I felt with her because that was totally horrible and unfair. She kept pushing and pushing and PUSHING. So, damn...there it went. She was in a fabulous mood and I really wanted to keep it there. Unfortunately, I think I was overcompensating for feeling so sad by putting on this disastrous front to hide my true emotions. Even I wasn't buying it but couldn't correct in time. Anyway, long story short. Chemo begins September 10, just after radiation ends.

I didn't cry after seeing her today. I talked her briefly on the phone as I neared my house, but it was nothing big.

I am going to try to out this in the back of my mind for a few weeks. I will send her a little note next week just to let her know that we are praying for her, but other than that I really want to keep my mind on school. Funny, through the whole thing today she somehow found a way to relate EVERYTHING to school or medicine whether or not it was related. Go figure. That is so her.

I am so grateful to have such a wonderful role model. Please keep her in your prayers.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Emotional pain, physical hurt.

Why can't I deal with this better? This morning, while talking to my best friend, I recounted all that was going on. I realized what a sad time this is. I was selfishly hoping that gathering this little care package for Kate would be a therapeutic activity, but while walking into Nordstrom I was fighting back tears. It was awful. I spent a couple of hours out shopping for she and hubby. Hubby ended up scoring 6 new ties. His ties really go through the ringer at the hospital. I don't even want to touch them. I forced myself to stay out longer than I wanted to mainly because I know that curling up in bed is not a healthy thing to do. I can't help but feel that I have no right to feel the way I do. Kate herself would lecture me about feeling that way so I have to laugh. I have decided to get a counselor to deal with this. Yeah, it is affecting me THAT much. It is one of those want to get over it, but you really can't stand the thought of being able to ignore it. Classes begin a week from today. This semester will be dedicated to her. She will finish the currently prescribed 6 rounds of chemo about the time I complete the semester. Actually, she will finish chemo as I begin Kaplan. Ha Ha Ha. She has been bugging me to take Kaplan for months. Every time she asks me if I am going to take it and I respond "Yes" (which I always have since it has been the plan all along) she says "Good" and then proceeds to ask me the same question the next time I see her and the opportunity arises. You would think that she owned stock in the friggin' company or something. Maybe she does.

I know I am internalizing this way too much, but it seems impossible to do anything else right now. I have no appetite, I am sad, and have really no desire to talk to anyone. Selfishly, this MUST change SOMEHOW in the next 7 days.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

We returned today from vacation. While it was a wonderfully relaxing and very special time, I strained to keep Kate off of my mind. I felt selfish doing that. I decided to make a special "care package" of sorts for her so it changed the mood from sad to excited. I called a friend of mine this evening who was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 years ago, endured a double mastectomy, the cancer metastasized, and today the tumors are inactive. I wanted to call and see how she was doing and get her input about items to put into my little pack of love for Kate. She was overwhelmingly helpful with so many different questions I had. What was the "right" thing to do? What was the "wrong" thing to do? Tomorrow, I am heading out to buy some cute PJs, some Werther's Original candies, lemon drops, and Gatorade. Apparently, Werther's are a great thing for stimulating saliva and are one of the few things that my friend was still able to taste while she was undergoing chemo.

I also got word while we were on vacation that a woman, Judy*, that I have known for more than 20 years was found dead on Sunday. Her parents have always been very close friends of my parents until her father suddenly passed away 5 years ago. Her mother remains very tight with my parents. Judy's life was a tragic one. Adopted into an extremely loving home when she was very young (if not an infant), Judy was an only child. Her father doted on her mercilessly. She was rebellious and became pregnant well before we were 20. She went on to 4 children with 4 different fathers. She married a man that turned out to be heavily into drugs. There was already suspicion that she was using, so her choice of partners was not a surprise. Her father called her one day from his car saying that he felt weird. He then died from a stroke on the side of the road. The following year, she awoke to find her husband dead in bed beside her. She died Sunday in much the same way. Two of her children had been put up for adoption as infants, but she leaves behind 2 young boys to be raised by their grandmother who has lost her husband, daughter and son-in-law in a matter of 5 years.

It was a situation in which you could see what was wrong, but despite everyone's best efforts nothing changed. I need to send her mom a card tomorrow. What do you say??? I first met Judy in the 6th grade so I can't claim that I didn't know her. What the heck does something say at a time like this?

*not real name

Saturday, August 11, 2007


How does one get over something? Stupid, I know. I feel like I don't have a right to my feelings. I didn't sleep well last night. Somewhere around 2:15am I woke up just to see that I had not turned off the TV before I somehow dozed off and now a talentless installment of "The Greg Behrendt Show" was mocking me in its own little way. Luckily, my husband's phone (as it is known to do) accidentally called me at 2:34 from the hospital. It is during these phone calls that I listen to the ambient sounds of a break room or cafeteria and yell "Hello?" into the receiver. Eventually, I page him and tell him that his pants have called me again. Two thirty in the morning or not, when I finally got him on the phone we talked for a while.

This morning, I was still preoccupied with Kate's diagnosis. I searched the websites of all the major medical centers that she had said had been consulted and found essentially the same thing on each one. What was I expecting? Really. I did learn a bit more about the specific radiation treatment that she said she had begun. I finished "Final Exam" and thumbed through "getting into med school" books. The end of "Final Exam" was as wonderful as the rest of the book had been, but my mind kept replaying the conversation from yesterday.

Gosh. (It seems like such an insubstantial word.) But, gosh, what must she be feeling? Why didn't I just ask? She kept talking. She wanted to. Why did I feel like I had to keep some level of strength in the conversation? It was up to her, why didn't I give her what perhaps she wanted? Geez, I don't know. What is she thinking? Is more effort going into keeping a positive attitude or praying that other people don't get you down? I was grateful for the gush of information she gave me yesterday. I have a hard time prying into her life that way. Funny, we actually talked about that yesterday. She said that I had been distancing her. Weird. I didn't see it that way, but looking back perhaps she was right.

I am numb in a very weird way. I feel like I don't have the right to feel like this. I feel helpless and I am angry at myself for thinking of ME at all.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Unfortunately, my intuition was correct. My mentor, Kate* a wonderful person that I care for and appreciate very much, has cancer. A very rare type, so treatment is kind of still up for debate.

She told me today. Actually, I kind of told her. We were talking when she stopped, much like she did almost 2 months ago. I simply looked at her and said "You have cancer, don't you?" She said "Yes." I immediately burst into tears and covered my face. It was a reaction that I have never had before. I knew I had to get myself together. When I managed to lift my head from my hands, I saw her eyes also full of tears. She wanted to know how I had known. "No one knew, how did you?" she asked. The only way I could explain it was "I just did." Not a line full of brilliance or comfort, just the truth. The disgusting truth. How was she feeling when she was told? Was it difficult to tell others or therapeutic? She joked about the wig in her future and how she had wanted to get "big hair" but her family protested. Was all that she was telling me for her benefit or mine? I was hoping it was for her. As much as I wanted to alleviate her pain, was she really as happy-go-lucky about the situation as she would have seemed to have others believe? Had I hurt her with my reaction? What did she want from me? Was I delivering? How could I help?

Cancer is not a new thing for me. I have known many people who have had it, some have lost the battle but thankfully most are winning. My aunt/godmother was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer and has now been cancer-free for four years. A dear friend, Monica* was diagnosed with breast cancer which later metastasized to her lungs and brain. She is currently in remission. My father-in-law, whom I never knew, died from 3 primary cancers. Bob*, a guy that I had known for many years as a family friend and then later dated very briefly, unfortunately died of 2 brain tumors. It was a horrible death. A terrible, slow progression capped by a discolored body lying lifeless in an open coffin.

It took me 4 hours to get home because of traffic. I needed every minute of those four hours. I was glad to be alone so that I could cry, think and prepare. What is going through her mind? What is she feeling?

I need to head back to the halls of the cancer center and start volunteering again. It is the place where I feel useful.

You are in my prayers, Kate. I hope you know that.

* not his/her real name

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Final Exam (not mine) and the news

I am reading a wonderful book entitled "Final Exam - A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality" by Pauline Chen. It is a wonderful glimpse into the mind of a physician on dying through stories of her own experience from medical school through practice. I have enjoyed this book immensely, but in the interest of not divulging too much, thus ruining the book for anyone, I will simply say that it is an easy read and one that I HIGHLY recommend. If Dr. Chen keeps a blog, I would love to add it to my regular reads. Does anyone know?

My husband and I are going to the beach for a few days come Sunday and I am really looking forward to spending time with him. While I have had my share of busy days working on that stupid, and thankfully over, pre-calc class, he is the one who has been truly slammed. So, more than anything I am hoping that he finds the vacation to be relaxing and rejuvenating. I have a tendency to be demanding and moody (which manifests itself as anger) and I really don't want that to come out during the time away. I have really been working hard on my anger and feel as though I am doing fairly well. He doesn't deserve what I put him through and I am working hard to change it. Don't get me wrong, I am not violent with him or anything, but being around someone who seems to be angry about everything can be a real drain I am certain.

The news has been a bit upsetting in recent days. Especially the trapped miners in Utah. Why is it that we can perform surgery remotely, but can't manage the technology to mine coal remotely and save lives - short and long term. Since the turn of the twentieth century, there have been 104,621 mining fatalities. That is just a bit less than 1000/year. Yikes! I am certainly not an expert or even one who keeps up with mine disasters, but another thing that infuriates me is the fact that during the current accident in Utah, the owner of the mine has had the audacity to claim that an earthquake was the culprit when all signs and seismologists point to the fact that the readings that he is citing were actually caused by the mine failure itself. I understand that the loss of mining to robots would result in hardships for many families who depend upon the mining profession. But, the fact of the matter is that the owners are in it for profit and aren't going to sink those profits into making working conditions safer. What is the price tag that we place on human life?

I must go. The shower is calling my name and then perhaps a few more pages of Dr. Chen's book.

Dr. Underdog

P.S. I have been asked what "TTFN" stands for..."Ta Ta For Now"...didn't anyone ever watch Winnie the Pooh? ;-) A Tigger phrase.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

It is over. RIP you horrible math class.

Thank GOD!

I woke up this morning, grabbed my laptop, and OMG! there it grade. I had been sweating for a B. I was scared out of my mind.My grades were consistent with a B, but in my world you never know what can happen. I thought that final accounted for 25% of my grade. Thankfully, I was wrong.

The day that I went in to take the final, the A/C was broken. On top of that, the small testing center was packed to the max with hot bodies sweating it out. I was one of them. This was not the way I had wanted to take my exam. It was my FINAL! A QUARTER of my grade. I was nervous. I was glad that it was over. I had given it all I had and it was over, but I was still scared. After all, I was certain that I had aced my second campus exam and all I had to show for it was a 78. Ugh.

So, this morning when I looked at Blackboard I began to scream.
Final Exam : 97
Final Grade: A

Add 5 credit hours of an A to my BCPM and my overall...I am one super happy camper!