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Archive for April, 2012

The heat is on

from wikipedia

Everyone knows how much I detest the heat. Last week, today’s forecast was for us to be in the upper 70s to low 80s–wrong. It will be in the lower 90s. The record is 93. We tied a record high yesterday of 91 degrees. Not my idea of spring. And, it is already dry as a bone. Even the weeds are wilting. Here is to hoping you have beautiful weather where you are and your gardens are bursting with color!

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RED!

I am having some graying problems and have been just dealing with them. When I was little I said I would never dye my hair. I planned to go gray naturally. Hmmm. I started down the gray path about 15 years ago. First, I pulled out the few gray strands. It worked but was time consuming. Then I started lightening my hair. My grays got lost in the mix and my hair would naturally turn reddish brown with some blondish streaks after spending time in the pool.

Last week I noticed this big patch of gray and wanted to do something about it. I’ve bought dyes before but was too chicken to use them. Yes, 52 years and I finally colored my hair. You have seen my photo taken about 1982 or so. I have basically had the same color hair just different styles through the years. The color I chose says…”natural light caramel brown.” I really like the color on the box. It is close to my natural color – without the gray. I applied the color as directed and oh, my word!!!!! I am now RED! There is no mistake particularly on top. I looked at my hair and compared it to the picture on the box. They are not even close! It is a little better after a few days, but it still isn’t what is on the box. And, I do not know the woman in the mirror. The one thing I can say about my hair color–it got rid of my grays :).

We were in Target yesterday and my oldest daughter was looking for me and didn’t recognize me at first. I thought it was my hair color but she said it was actually my weight loss. That makes me feel good. I have 22 more pounds to go (have lost 26 so far). We all can use a change now and then. Is there something you want to change or something you have changed recently? Do you feel better about yourself? Happy Gardening and may your gardens grow with vibrant colors!

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The Doctor

I had my doctor’s appointment yesterday. The doctor was very nice and had a nice bedside manner-something I see less and less often. He explained that my AVM is very large and located along the motor strip in my brain-I knew that. If I had surgery, I would almost definitely suffer major deficits in my motor coordination—code for paralysis, but there were two possible treatment options IF that was the path we wanted to take. Hey, a surgeon who wasn’t pushing to get into my brain. I like that! In fact, he said that if I was not open to any treatment, he would not recommend an angiogram. A man after my own heart! Dr. B _(insert rest of name)_ from Emory wanted to wheel me down and get into my head with no concern for quality of life and would not even go through treatment options until I had an angiogram FIRST. This doctor yesterday studied at Emory and I think he could teach some of them a thing or two.

So, surgery was off the table but 2 treatment options weren’t. Embolization may be done but he thought it was risky. It can carry a lot of risks-some are unforeseen. Radio surgery with their new Gamma-knife is another possibility but it can take 3-10 years sometimes to get free of all of the AVM especially since mine is so large. I’m no spring chicken so this doesn’t sound ideal. In my case, they would most likely have to repeat the procedure, do an angiogram, wait, do an angiogram, and repeat procedure and repeat this over and over. It is not as evasive BUT I know people who never are even close to the same afterwards and they never get over it. They have deficits-maybe not as much as if I had surgery, but paralysis, eyesight, speech, memory, and thinking are all affected. I don’t want to go down that road. Then there is the possibility of an aneurysm hidden and buried within the AVM. If that is the case, the aneurysm has to go no matter what and surgery will be back on the table.

I will have an angiogram in a few weeks-don’t know date yet. It will be the type through the groin which is probably better than going through the carotid artery. That was scary the first time around. When I said I have only had the one through the throat, the doc said I was dating myself because that was what was used before the CT and MRI machines. He did say that I have done well not having a bleed for all of these years but I have to get my BP down. He may advise no treatment, so I think we found the right doctor if he is as good as his bedside manner.

This wasn’t the highlight of my day. It began with my husband telling me he loved both of “us”-her and me but that he loved me more. Go figure! I have known this for a while but could not get him to admit to it. If he had, I would not have tried to mend our marriage. I said I don’t share and that I wanted him to go with me for the appointment but I don’t want him to be there through the tests, appointments, possibly surgery and treatment if he loves someone else. My heart cannot take it. Well, it diverted my thoughts from the appointment. When the doctor asked about my BP-why it was so high, I said my husband was the reason and like we were in a play, my husband stepped into the room almost like on cue. It was weird. And, then after the appointment he wants me to hug him like everything is fine. Hello! Who knows. I have to concentrate on me right now.

That’s where I am. Yes, my life is still in the pits but I am trying to make the best of it. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I am determined to crawl out of my pit to enjoy life again. Happy Gardening and may today be brighter than yesterday and tomorrow be brighter yet!

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I have my appointment with the brain surgeon today. Most people would be at least a little apprehensive about this, but since my husband said he was going with me I was even more so. I think he should be there, but I also think he should be living at home. He said he couldn’t talk to me on the phone last night because his head hurt too bad-he was out of work because of it and I just wanted to hear his voice. We texted and I wanted to know where he fit in my medical directive. I wanted him to be first, but since I cannot depend on him I wanted him to be second. But…I told him I don’t want that if he wants to be with someone else or if he is with someone else. He acts like he doesn’t understand what a big deal this is to me. Where did his heart go? And, why tell me he loves me when he just stomps all over my heart?

Earlier in the week, I talked to him about how difficult this all is because for over 22 years he was my best friend. He said that I was still his best friend. Hey, best friends don’t treat each other like this. They don’t go out and replace the best friend and then still tell the other that they are top in their life. Well, it might happen but it shouldn’t happen in marriage not when it seems that the two love each other so much. I wanted reassurances that he wasn’t in love with anyone else but I got silence last night and to me that speaks volumes. I could be wrong especially through text-there is no emotion. My BP shot up to close to 200. I am a ticking time bomb.

I want him to want to be with me through good and bad because I signed up for both and have been through both. I don’t want him if he is there just as a friend. I’m not that good. This appointment will probably be the hardest thing I have had to do in life so far. Last time I was in a surgeon’s office I was out for information. This time, I need help. I don’t want to die. I don’t want to be paralyzed. I want to be whole and I have been as whole as I could. How can someone treat me like this? I don’t want to be a victim. I have had enough heartache in my life to last several lifetimes. And, I don’t want to suffer without my love of my life with me. I was so full of hope but now I feel like all of my hopes have been dashed completely.

Wish me luck today. I’m still going to the appointment even though I told him I wasn’t. And, to set the record straight, I do not divulge my personal problems so that people will feel sorry for me. I say that because of the hurtful words the other “woman” (girl) said to me and through him-that I am using my health to get to him. Are you insane? For one thing, I wouldn’t be in this predicament if my BP had not been so high for these past few months. This is just the reality of me having to see about surgery so that I might be able to live. I definitely do not want to have it done. And, she thinks I am the one who is crazy? I don’t think so. Take care and may your gardens be blessed today and every day!

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I have an appointment this coming week with the neurosurgeon I have spoken about. To be honest, I am not excited. The office called Friday and said I need to get copies of my scans to take from the various places I have had tests made over the years. Honestly, I am apprehensive. I don’t exactly know what will come of this. This may be the beginning of a road to surgery and it may not. I know that the last time I faced these crossroads I had my husband by my side helping to navigate through the rough waters. Ironically, he is supposed to meet us for the appointment so this may be rather strange.

from wikipedia

What else is happening? I received the paperwork for my advance medical directive. I feel that these documents differ from state to state.  It is a lot like a living will. I need to get that completed and ready. I also must fill out my marriage counseling paperwork and make my appointment with the counselor. My husband is waiting for the doctor to tell him what he needs to do—I was hoping to get his appointment on the books, too, but giving it further thought, he may have to see a psychiatrist. Then there are 10 billion other things I need to do before the end of this week so it will be very busy. I have another doctor appointment and this is the last week of the semester for my daughter. It is almost like, “Hey, we need to get everything accomplished before the end of April!”

At the beginning of the year, I weighed in at a hefty weight for me. I remember the nurse at the doctor’s office as she wrote that terrible number. In fact, I also remember weighing 100 pounds less and at the time I thought that was too much but that was when I was in the initial stages of anorexia nervosa. When my world seemed to fall apart in January 2012, I didn’t eat for a few days. I began to lose weight so I decided I needed to take advantage of this time. I set a goal to lose 24 pounds by April 1. I missed the goal by 2 pounds and pushed the goal line to May 1. I am happy to report that I have lost 25 pounds since the beginning of the year passing my goal by 1 pound so far-and the month is not over. I would really like to lose another 25 pounds by July 1, but I think that might be pushing it a bit-maybe by August 1? And, hey, I would be happy with 20 pounds! My clothes already do not fit.

My oldest daughter and I started walking at the mall this week-broken foot bone and all. It has really helped. I went out with a friend on Friday-she took me to lunch. I haven’t seen her in a few months and she was shocked to see how I looked. I have also cut my hair a few times, so I look pretty decent (compared to my old self)—maybe a bit too much since I had a guy flirt with me yesterday afternoon. I wasn’t ready for that, but it sure helps my ego right now.

Hope you all have a great weekend and a terrific week next week! Happy Gardening in all of your gardens!

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Something else on my plate

Savannah River Site from wikipedia

I have more than my share of things I have to get done in the next few weeks, but more things have been added to me… Oh, goody! I need to see if I can file a claim (or two) for compensation due to exposure to radiation. I am not sure that I have a claim but I know that my dad wondered if he was overexposed. I don’t have much hope that this will turn out for the good (in my favor) but I have to do this for several reasons. One is that my children never knew my dad and only barely remember my mom. We each leave a legacy behind when we die but sometimes it is not told. I have a need to tell my family’s story. Some of it I don’t even know.

Both of my parents worked for Savannah River Plant (it is called “Site” today rather than Plant-link) back in the 1950s. I never knew what my dad did there—it was “classified.” He didn’t talk about it even when I asked—especially when I asked. These are the only two references that I remember. He told about some of the physical setup for the separation facility (what things looked like) and the equipment they used to monitor radiation. Remember the little gizmo thing that looks like a remote control gadget in Star Wars-episode 4 (which was the original Star Wars to us when it was first made) where the storm troopers are all walking in the halls with the little metal thing dodging in out around the feet? I was told that they had similar gadgets used to monitor radiation. I cannot confirm that but it sure would have been handy. I digress.

When I was studying chemistry in high school and we got to the radiation part of the course, my dad got out some of his take home notes from his days at SRP. These were articles and problems about producing heavy water or tritium—all general information—nothing classified. That is one of the things that was made at SRP back in the day when my parents worked there. I was impressed that my dad actually worked on something I was studying but when I asked questions he could not give the answers because it was all shrouded in secrecy.

My dad wondered if my AVM might have been the result of his exposure to radiation because it is considered a birth defect that did not manifest itself until about 10 years after I was born, well, that and the fact that all of my siblings were never born. My mom had miscarriages before and after my birth. And, then there is the fact my dad died of lung cancer after first having a heart attack and then a brain tumor. Back around the time of my mom’s death, I inquired to SRS to see if I could find out my dad’s rad count. I was never able to get over there to pick up the results so I still do not know.

The not knowing is always the hardest. Today, it is easier to file a claim but right now I am in the process of gathering information to see if I can. Once the process is started, I will have 30 days to get all of the needed information together and sent in. That might take nothing short of a miracle since it has been so long. I was 21 and still in school when my dad died so I qualify as a child. It all depends on how the people who are set to determine if his disease was caused by radiation or other. That is the tricky part but what about mine and my siblings’ part in all of this? That may be undeterminable but here is to seeing how far we can go. Wish me luck!

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I remember visiting Augusta as a child and seeing the large lions gracing the small bridge over the canal. I had no concept of what they stood for or the person that the bridge memorialized. It was much later in life that I developed an understanding for why this symbol was an important part of history. You see, for years this little bridge was in the way of progress. It served as a connector to downtown from the outlying area. There were those who wanted it destroyed so that a bigger and better bridge could be built. Moving the bridge was discussed, too.

Butt Memorial Bridge, Augusta, GA from wikipedia

The dangling of millions of federal dollars for road improvements in front of the local leaders almost altered my posting today, but believe it or not, the famous movie, Titanic, helped to save the bridge because the public was made more aware of ties the bridge has to history as people stepped up in support. The bridge is not a tribute to the sunken ship but to a passenger by the name of Major Archibald Willingham Butt. It is called the Butt Memorial Bridge and yeah, there have been a lot of Butt jokes about it.

Maj. Archibald Willingham Butt from wikipedia

Archie, as he was affectionately called, was from Augusta. Serving in various journalism jobs in the south after graduation, he became the first secretary for the American Embassy in Mexico (see article at Wikipedia here). Afterwards, he served as captain in the US Army as part of the US Volunteers and then served as military aide to the president under Theodore Roosevelt and then William Howard Taft. Another tidbit of information was that President Woodrow Wilson, the man who succeeded President Taft, lived in Augusta as a child.

Major Butt’s story is not well known, but it is consistent to his character as a gentleman. As the ill-fated ship was sinking, Maj. Butt like several of the passengers, stepped up to help passengers off the ship. He helped women and children into the lifeboats, and it is said that he halted individuals (men) from jumping the line as they tried to save their own lives. It has been recorded that he spoke with women trying to calm their fears. You can read more about him here and here.

After the sinking of the RMS Titanic, the city built a magnificent bridge to remember this particular man who went down with the ship. President Taft came and spoke at the ceremony. At times, the bridge has looked a little worn but it was refurbished and its life was extended. A core group of people decided to save the bridge in recent years. They extended probably as much effort as it would be to raise the RMS Titanic. They were not going down and they didn’t. Connector bridges and roads were completed a few years ago to downtown and the bridge was left for posterity purposes. I was so relieved because it is a symbol of my childhood. If you come to town, be sure to visit this landmark that stands in honor and memory of Major Archibald W. Butt.

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