Sunday, March 25, 2007

Dilettante Released from Radiation Leper Colony!

Thank gawd. As of this morning, I am free to rejoin the human race, to sit in a room with other living things, to eat and drink from non-disposable plates, cups and utensils, and to wash my laundry in the same load with everyone else's. As I'm fond of saying, it's the little things.

The swelling in my neck and face is noticeably down today, and the soreness in my salivary glands seems to have abated. Doug and I dropped Sam off at Sunday school and then went and enjoyed a nice Sunday brunch, a belated anniversary celebration. I ordered a second Mimosa.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Back Home, Not Glowing In the Dark

...Despite still having a small amount of radioactivity emanating from my neck. This will dissipate greatly over the next couple of days, but until then I have to limit my proximate contact with other living things. I did experience quite a bit more side effects than I had anticipated, including some pretty persistent nausea on Wednesday and now some soreness and swelling in my salivary glands and hoarseness. But the good news is that I'm back on my thyroid meds and already feeling a bit more energy, and very glad to be home and out of that hospital room!

While I was out of commission, I see that Gonzales-gate proceeds apace. Digby has more (scroll down to the post entitled Company Men), as does Echidne (scroll down to Gonzales-Gate Heating Up) and it looks as though Rove will be called to answer some questions up on Capitol Hill (though whether this will ever happen is doubtful, IMO; fully expect le Dauphin to call "executive priviledge, olly olly oxen free").

Echidne also has a disturbing item up about last night's America's Top Model (scroll down to "Death Becomes You, Young Lady!") about the bizarre and increasing acceptance of fashion imagery featuring models posed as if they had been savagely attacked or even murdered. I've noticed more and more of this in fashion layouts and ads, and have to say I do find it disturbing, that it seems to serve to normalize the erotization of violence against women. I can't help but recall Germaine Greer's quote (as did one commenter at Echidne's), "Women don't realize how much men hate us." I hate to think like that, but sometimes you have to wonder.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Just to give you an idea...

...of how much I have not been suffering on a medically restricted diet the last two weeks, here's tonight's dinner, my last meal at home on my low-iodine diet:

Herb roasted turkey breast
Beet infused potatoes
Brussels sprouts (one of my faves if prepared correctly)

Thursday when I come home from the hospital though, there will be sushi....

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Countdown to Radioactiveville

So it's been two weeks now that I'm off my Synthroid and on the low iodine diet, and I have to say, it hasn't been that bad. I've been feeling tired and lightheaded, yes, but am only today starting to feel a bit creaky in my joints and achy, so I feel like I'm ahead of the game. I've still been able to walk the dogs at least once or twice a day and do dishes and laundry. Today I even visited the hairstylist for a root-and-highlights. (Doug drove and picked me up though. Due to the lightheadedness I'm not comfortable driving more than a few blocks.)

Thank goodness for heat-and-serve meals my BIL prepared, though. I don't think I could have done nearly as well on this very restrictive diet without going into Deprivation Mode had I not had a nice meal to look forward to each night (and leftovers for lunch the next day). With my history of compulsive dieting and bingeing, I know that feeling deprived tends to set me off and trigger overeating. Especially with my metabolism at about minus three right now, I'm glad that hasn't been an issue.

Tuesday I go into the hospital and around 5pm they'll bring me the radioactive iodine pill in a little lead box. Once I take the pill, I'm pretty much in isolation until Thursday morning, when I get a full body scan to insure that the radiation is leaving my system at the desired rate. Then I get to go home, but have to limit my contact with other living things for a few days. But at least I get to start taking my Synthroid again when I get home, halle-freakin-luja. We met with the doc and the "radiation safety technician" on Thursday to go over the process and precautions, and what you read on the web about this process is far more cautious and alarmist than what we were told, which is a relief. My boss and co-department head were both delighted to hear that I'll be able to have my Blackberry in the room with me, as long as I keep it in a sealed plastic baggie. Wednesday through Friday this week I worked from home, and it was nonstop from 7am until 6pm each day. The dogs are loving having me home, as I let them hang out in the front room with me while I work on the computer. When I get back from the hospital, I'll be able to pet and visit with them, just not sleep in the same bed for three nights. (Same rules as for my human family members.)

I asked the radiation safety tech if she knew where I could get my hands on an old-fashioned Geiger counter that clicks with increasing intensity the greater the radiation present. She seemed amused and said "most people don't want to know." I explained that I was a bit of a science geek, and that I thought it might be fun to call up my sister and some other people I know and say, "hey, listen to this...that's me!" She smiled a half smile and said, "we might have one still laying around somewhere, I'll see what I can do."

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Plodding Along, Odds and Ends

So I'm one week into my "get ready to get radioactive!" routine, and still doing pretty well. I've been off the thyroid meds since Monday and still not dragging too badly. I definitely feel a little tired, but so far have still been able to function. Energy levels are up and down, and the lightheadedness I'm periodically experiencing doesn't seem to be getting worse. If things continue this way over the next few days, I should be able to continue working. We'll see. I've been so thankful for the meals my BIL prepared within the really narrow dietary restrictions I'm having to follow until my procedure. He charged us half his usual fee, and the food is fantastic! If it weren't for him, I'd probably be living on carrot sticks, whole wheat matzhos and unsalted peanut butter. It's made the whole thing SO much more bearable, and not allowing the "diet deprivation" mindset to kick in. Here's how it works: he's prepared six different meals each week (2 servings each) which get vacuum sealed and can be stored in the fridge for several days. They just have to be put in boiling water for a few minutes to reheat. I have one serving for dinner and the other for lunch the next day. Genius!

Interesting that the Federal Prosecutor firing scandal has actually been making some real news. This is the kind of thing that would've been buried without a Democtratic Congress and Senate, IMHO. Some excellent analysis by Digby indicates the White House has it's pawprints all over this, quelle surprise - not. It's amazing to me the thuggery this administration has gotten away with while the news media is focuses on Anna Nicole's maggoty corpse and Britney's shaved head.

Maya's Granny has an interesting post about polar bear stories. I get such a kick out of the one about the runway landing lights. Really though, polar bears are the "canaries in the coal mine" when it comes to global warming. I just don't know how anyone with a brain or a modicum of scientific knowledge can deny this is happening, or that it's in everyone's best interest to try to take steps to mitigate it. Profits and short-sightedness are all that motivate some people, I guess. Never mind that their great-grandchildren are going to be the ones paying the price (just like the deficit price tag for Pee Wee's Big Iraq Adventure).

Sam's been going through another phase of getting frustrated easily and hitting, pinching and sometimes trying to bite whoever is in range. It's like he's having trouble processing any extreme emotions; even being very happily excited can set him off and he'll start smacking whoever is nearest. We're going to have to set up another round with a behaviorist. He'll hit, get sent to his room for a time out, then after a few minutes say he's sorry but do it again five minutes later. Especially now that he's getting bigger, this is worrisome. It's just so tough because he doesn't have the language or vocabulary to express what he's feeling. We know there's a lot more going on in his brain than he's able to convey and I really feel bad for him.

Well, I'm off to heat up some lunch (lentil stew and braised chard today, yum!).

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Back in the Saddle

And galloping my mouse over the open range. Our old PC finally gave up the ghost, so now I'm working on a brand spanking new (and fast!) one and on Windows Vista, which I'm liking so far. It also came with a flat panel 19" monitor, which is just the bomb, except that I'm still trying to adjust it as some images look pretty washed out. Haven't quite got it to where I want yet.

Anyhoo, lots of stuff going on. Tomorrow is my 50th birthday (yay!) so we're going out to a movie and sushi tonight. If that doesn't sound like much of a celebration for hitting another decade, worry not. We have a fabulous Paris trip planned in May, and it's just about all I can think about. I took 5 years of French, which I can still conjure up enough to understand most dialog in French language movies (and also know when the subtitlers got it wrong) but other than that I've never had the opportunity to put it to use. It will be my first trip to Europe, as well. I've traveled North as far as Canada and South as far as Costa Rica, but have never made it out of this hemisphere. I've been stocking up on books about Paris, including some history, and am almost all the way through one of the most interesting, The Judgement of Paris by Ross King. It combines history and art and personalities during a very tumultuous time in French history, and is a fascinating read. I took a few Art History classes back in high school and college, and this book brings a lot of it back. I've also started keeping lists of various peoples' recommendations for things to see and do, and have quite a list so far. We're actually in the city for about 7-1/2 days, and also want to take a couple of day trips out to Giverny (where Monet painted the water lilies) and the Champagne region to visit wineries and do some tasting. So it's sure to be a full dance ticket.

Monday I go on a diet. Not the kind you think, and not really by choice. I have to go on a low-iodine diet for two weeks prior to my radioactive iodine treatment on March 20. That means no seafood, dairy (aaarrrgh!), any commercially prepared foods except some condiments and mahtzos, certain types of beans (though I found out last night I can have lentils which I love). Fortunately, we have a personal chef in the family, and we've hired my BIL to make me some approved meals. Part of the reason for doing that instead of planning to cook myself is that I also have to stop taking my thyroid hormone on Monday, which means that over the next two weeks I will be come increasingly hypothyroid and can expect to be sluggish, have trouble concentrating, become constipated, and possibly lose a little hair. That plus the diet is likely to make me a very cranky animal. I've already warned my staff at work. But I'm thankful that it's only for a couple of weeks, it's not chemo, and once I'm done, I'm done. Thyroid cancer according to my doc is highly curable, and probably any cancer was removed already with the thyroid gland, so this treatment is more like added insurance in case there are any remaining stray thyroid cells. The treatment itself is painless, I take a pill containing radioactive iodine, and have to stay in isolation in the hospital for a couple of days. Anyone know where I can get a cheap Geiger counter? So by the end of this month, things should be back to normal, for which I am more grateful than I can express. That doesn't mean I probably won't be a whiny baby at least once or twice over the next couple of weeks.