Monday, June 27, 2005

Ya gotta love the web...

I am beginning to remind myself more and more of Trudy Weigel from "Reno 911." That cat-lovin', unstable nutcase would love to spend some time here. I mean really, who's to say which kitten is cuter? All kittens are cute in their own way, no? Jesus. I spent 35 minutes of my life tonight clicking through and "voting." 35 minutes!!! Of my precious time!! And I kept catching myself arguing in my head, "Well Pookie's is damn cute, but Luna has those eyes...Luna wins!" What in the Hell is wrong with me?! (Don't answer that. It's rhetorical.)

In other news...It hasn't rained in Austin in...I dunno...FOR-FREAKIN-EVER!! What I wouldn't give for a couple of good, soaking storms right now. Everything is getting brittle and burned up. It's just depressing. This always happens in Austin (except for last summer, which was nice and rain-filled), but it usually waits until late July or August. I remember one time in the early 90s, it went for 64 days without rain here. All of the leaves were falling off the trees. All of my dreams had started to feature immense downpours. It was miserable. My roommate and I bought our "rainy day 12-pack" of Coors Light and vowed that when it rained, we were going to sit on our front porch and drink it. (As if we needed another excuse to pound 6 beers a piece...) I'm contemplating purchasing a rainy day six pack for myself now, but somehow I don't think it fits as well into my plans. But I still wish it would rain.

Also, Mr. Mumbly has resurfaced. In fact, he says he's coming by tomorrow evening for a visit. And my mom's still here. Should be interesting. I'll let you know how it goes.

For now, it's bedtime. Maybe I'll dream about rain.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

This strange world.

I've been trying to figure out how to write about this for a few days now. And I'll probably do a poor job, but I figured this moment was strange enough to merit some blog space, so here goes:

When I was at the radiologists the other day, I had been taken back into a secondary waiting room, put into a gown, IV started, and was just waiting until the CAT Scan machine was available for me. I was being shepherded around by this nice African-American woman, probably in her late 40s. Her name was Theresa. She came to check on me. I was sitting there writing in my journal, trying to hold it together while being terrified. There were 2 other women in the waiting room, also African-American. It was a mother (about 80 years old) and her daughter (about 60). They were both dressed to the nines and sporting well-coifed but obviously fake wigs.

Theresa asked me, "Are you okay? You look white as a ghost." And I just lost it. Started crying and blubbering about how I'd just had a hysterectomy, and they'd found cancer, and I have a 10 month old baby, and I can't be sick, and this scan was going to tell me what my future was going to hold dealing with this illness. The daughter approached as I was talking to Theresa. "I couldn't help but overhear. Would it be alright if I prayed for you? I'm a minister." I said certainly, thinking she meant she'd pray for me at church, but no, she meant right then. She, her mother, Theresa and I joined hands, and the minister went to town. She was doing some serious praying, and the mother and Theresa were reaching mumuring "Praise God, Praise Jesus" at various intervals. After the first round of prayer, she pulled out a bottle of "holy oil" from her purse and asked me if she could anoint me. How often do you get asked that? So I was anointed, and then the praying continued. Afterward, She gave me her card--her name is Sister Doris, and her husband is a minister too. They minister to inmates at various prisons around central Texas--Kyle, Gatesville... She wrote my name and Gracelyn's down in her notebook so they could pray for me this Sunday. While I was getting my scan, she pulled out her Bible and a piece of paper and wrote down a bunch of scriptures about healing and God's love for me to take home and contemplate. Sister Doris was pretty amazing.

I've thought about this whole deal a lot since Wednesday. It's weird, but if it had been some white, evangelical, right wing, car-salesman looking dude asking to pray for me, I wouldn't have been so okay with it. But Doris was not trying to save my soul. She was just sincerely praying to God that I be okay and that I be able to raise my baby. She wanted me to be well, and she wanted God to help me. Those three women will never know what their being there meant to me. I felt indescribably scared and alone--like I was standing on the edge of a cliff at the end of the world. And as strange of an experience as it was, after they prayed for me (I was praying too, but silently), I was not as afraid as I had been. They soothed me and comforted me, and it worked.

I am planning on writing Doris a note and letting her know I got the "all clear," and to thank her once again for being so kind to me. But I guess all of this is to say that if some random African-American minister woman wearing a big black wig ever offers to pray for you, take her up on it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

This is the same girl who used to HATE having a bath. Is there anything cuter than a naked baby? Posted by Hello

Worst. 24 Hours. Ever.

Hi there. I survived my surgery. Everything went fine. I was in the hospital for three days, two of which I was on a constant morphine drip with one of those self-administration buttons. It was sweet except for the incessant feeling that my skin was crawling. Apparently one of the very common side effects of morphine is that it makes you itch like a sonofabitch. And no amount of good lotion or scratching helps the situation. But when having to make a choice between severe abdominal pain and some itching, I choose itching.
The hospital staff were nice enough. I was on a liquid diet for 2.5 days, so by the time I was able to eat "real" food (if you can call hospital food that), I wasn't even hungry for it. Mom brought the Geej up to see me every day, and it was pure hell not being able to hold her. But it was great to see her. Mostly I dozed and listened to my iPod (while dozing).
Got home Monday morning, and was just sore as hell. Not only my guts, but my lower back. I guess from all the lying flat on it or perhaps I'm using those muscles in new and unusual ways, so I ache. And I can't really help out with the baby, so my poor mother is having to take care of me and the Geej (who developed some sort of a cold and is coughing like she smokes 2 packs a day). Everything was going well and then...

Yesterday afternoon, I got a call from my doctor. The pathology report had come back on all of the stuff I'd had removed. And that thing they thought was a fibroid in my uterus? It wasn't. It was cancer. Leiomyosarcoma to be exact. Scary, rare and aggressive. Had they known it was a tumor, the recommended course of treatment would've been to have my uterus removed, so at least that had been done. But now we needed to find out it this shit had spread. It travels throughout the bloodstream, and attacks nearby organs. I've known this thing was there since it showed up on a sonogram in early January. So it had been sitting in me for at least 6 months, and no telling where else it had decided to travel. My doctor had wanted to do this surgery in February, but I couldn't because I wasn't sure at that time when I'd be called to go back to Russia and get The Geej. So I opted to wait, not knowing that I had a tumor growing inside me.

My doctor informed me that Wednesday morning (today) I would have a chest, abdomen and pelvic CT scan and that Thursday morning I'd be meeting with the gynecological oncologist. To say I was freaking out does not even skim the surface of what I was feeling when I got this news. Terrified. Shocked. Angry. Those words hint at what I was feeling, but truthfully, I cannot describe all that was going through my head. My mother had cancer (and beat it). My father had cancer, and it killed him within 6 weeks of his diagnosis. This is a disease I'm far more familiar with than I'd like to be. And now that I have a baby who depends on me for everything, I can't afford to have a cold, much less something shitty like fucking cancer.

So I got up this morning and went to have the scan done. Drank the nasty barium stuff. Had the contrast IV. All of it. And then I spent the rest of the day waiting to hear what the scan showed.

At about 4:30 today, my doctor called. The scans were clear. Meaning, as far as they can tell, the cancer hadn't spread, and they got it all when they performed my hysterectomy. Thank you Jesus, Buddha, Allah and Great Spirit. Mom and I split a bottle of champagne tonight to celebrate. Tomorrow I go meet with the oncologist to get more information and to see how we're going to deal with this going forward. What I predict is that they'll probably send me for an MRI just to confirm what the CT scans showed, and then I'll probably have to do scans a couple of times a year for the rest of my life to make sure it doesn't pop up somewhere new.

Right now, all I can feel is an enormous sense of relief. And this aching in my lower back and guts...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Bye Bye, Ovaries.

Tomorrow is the big hysterectomy. Good God, I'm scared. They're having to do it abdominally, and they're taking everything. Recuperation promises to be a blast. But luckily I've got my wonderful mother here and friends helping to tend to The Geej. Honestly, I'm far more worried about her than I am about myself. And that's saying something because I'm anxious as hell about this sucker. I've had surgery before, but never anything this major and invasive. Never anything that required "4 to 6 weeks" of recuperation. Nothing that required a "bowel cleanse" the night before the operation. (Ugh. Don't ask.) And it's weird saying goodbye to my girlie parts. I mean, they've given me nothing but trouble for over 10 years, so the misery that comes with chronic, serious "female problems" will be good riddance. But it's going to throw me into menopause (with a baby...what fun!!), and I'm the first one of my friends to have to do this, so I don't really have anyone to comiserate with on any real level.
Oh well. Hopefully they'll give me some kick ass drugs, and I'll be able to get some decent rest, but we'll see...
So I'm signing off for now. I hope to be back in a week or so. But don't you forget about me...

P.S. Earl got in the crib with The Geej last night while she was sleeping. Luckily, I was sleeping in her room, so I heard his big ass lumbering into forbidden space, and quickly grabbed his purring butt and threw him out in the hall, shutting the door behind him. He then proceeded to sit outside the door and cry and shove his gargantuan paw underneath the door a jillion times. What a dork.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

That's what I'm talking about baby...Fill 'er up. Posted by Hello
Oh yeah, get it fired up, baby... Posted by Hello

My Hot Yard Guy, Part Deux

So here's how pathetic I am: The other morning, I'm feeding the Geej her breakfast, and I notice my hot yard guy has pulled up in front of the house and is unloading his equipment (heh heh). So what do I do? I suspend the act of feeding my child, and go get the digital camera so I can snap a photo of his fine self. Now please note, I was trying to be sneaky and spy-like while photographing him, so it isn't the best quality, nor does it showcase his true fine-ness. But hopefully you get the idea.

Can you tell it's been a while since mama's had a man?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Katie and Tom, 2 gether, 4 ever.

I am going to barf all over my Trapper Keeper if I hear another goddamned word about that stupid "Dawson's Creek" chick and "The Last Samurai."

When I was in junior high, I got one of those cheap ass photo albums with the peel back plastic and the sticky pages, and I wrote on the front of it in paint penned bubble letters, "HOT GUYS!!" In it, I would put pictures I cut out of magazines of my favorite hotties of the day. Bono filled most of the pages, but there were random stars of film, t.v. and music scattered throughout. (I would give anything to find this book, by the way. I'm sure it's hilarious...) And yes, Tom Cruise was in there. This was in his "Risky Business," "All the Right Moves," era. He was a bit pudgy, very young and still had his crooked teeth. And the world still hadn't figured out just exactly how short he was. I'm not sure why I thought he was hot, but he made it into the book. (Then again, so did the dirt leg guitarist from Def Leppard, so my taste wasn't all that great... )But somewhere between then and now, I have grown to LOATHE him. Exactly when and why this happened, I don't know. But he bugs the ever lovin' shit out of me. And now add this totally bullshit relationship and all of the press hoopla into the mix, and I seriously want to punch somebody. don't think the fact that they both have big movies coming out this summer within weeks of each other has anything to do with this very PR-friendly pairing, do you? And who on this planet HASN'T heard the "Tom Cruise is gay" rumors? I mean, where there's smoke, there's fire is all I'm saying...

I have been to the third circle of Hell...

...and it is the Social Security office in Austin, Texas. JESUS H. FREAKIN' CHRIST!!! I was there for 2 1/2 hours of my life today, just to get a social security card for The Geej. I showed up at 2pm thinking it would probably take me about 45 minutes. But when I walked in and saw the gazillion people ahead of me, I nearly pooped a brick. But I took my number (#738) and had a seat.

This office is located in the former main post office building, and we all know how well designed and attractive those are. Well let me set the scene for you: the Social Security office is basically a long, skinny room. I'd say it's 25' by 12'--not big. At one end, there's a "take a number machine." At the other end, there are 2 (yes, only 2) windows. The walls are empty. There are no forms to fill out. And the few signs that are there are just laserprinted papers taped to the walls. There are about 30 chairs but easily 60 people at any given time, so there are a lot of folks standing around in this very small room. There is no "Now Serving" sign that shows what number is up. Instead, the surly government employees behind windows #1 and #2 yell the numbers from behind bullet-proof glass (which, I'm sorry, is not a very helpful thing for those customers who might be deaf...hello? American With Disabilities Act anyone?). When I got there, they were on #671. And I was number 738. You do the math. Everyone seated around me was saying they'd been there for 2 hours...3 hours... It was fucking retarded. And just to spice things up, there was the obligitory insane person at the front of the room, yelling to herself, causing a scene, and making everyone uncomfortable.

When it was finally my turn (at 4:30), the guy who was helping me said in that resigned "Oh well" government employee lobotomized way that today "wasn't even very busy" and that "it's usually worse." This, and unjust wars, is what our hard-earned tax dollars pay for, my friends.

Have you ever been in a security line at the airport and had someone hand you a yellow card as you enter the line? And then, when you're done, you turn the card in? Well, they are monitoring how long it takes folks to go through the line, and adding/subtracting resources as needed. You think that this approach might be tried at the flippin' Austin, Texas Social Security office. But I guess that would make just too much sense.

But mission accomplished. The Geej will be getting her very own Social Security card in about 10 days. Soon after that, she can get a jobby job and start EARNING that formula she sucks down like a pig.

Just kidding. About the work, that is. I wasn't kidding about her sucking down formula. She loves the stuff...

Monday, June 06, 2005

Turbo crawling. I love this view...made all the better by the very true sentiment printed on her bootie. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


And in no particular order...

When I was on my week-long road trip last weekend, I had a major meltdown/crisis that still disturbs me.

On our way from Longview to Houston, I adjusted the car's A/C, and suddenly, it quit working. Not noticible at first, but then it was clear that the air it was pumping out was no longer cooled. Luckily for us, it was still morning time, and we were able to crack the windows from some noisy relief. But then I started freaking totally out: If my air conditioner was really broken, then that meant that the remainder of this road trip (incl. 2 days in the Houston area and a lengthy trip from Houston to Austin) with a baby in the car was going to be unbearable. You see, it's full on summer here. Has been for weeks. So there would be no escaping the punishment of the Texas heat. Ugh. And then what about getting it fixed? I'm probably just beyond Warranty Land (my car's 2.5 yrs. old) so the expense would most likely be substantial...and let's not forget I'm on unpaid maternity leave right now...and I've got my car insurance coming up in July...and medical bills and...

Anyway, beyond the expense, what about the ACT of getting the car fixed? Even if I made an appointment at the one and only VW dealership here in town, I'm sure it would involve taking the car and leaviing it at the crack of dawn and (only maybe) getting it back late that afternoon. But I don't have a husband to take me and drop me off. And there's the car seat. I've got to have a car seat in whatever car DOES take me and pick me up. Ugh. Anxiety attack setting in.!

Well, long story short. We stopped to change Miss G's diaper and give her a bottle and..voila...when we started the car again, the A/C was magically working and has been since. Thank you God. But the freak out remains... I hate feeling that alone and helpless. But really, I am. It only takes a situation like that to make it all too real.

Remember Mr. Mumbly? The guy I met at ACLfest who had definite potential? He was hanging in there, being charming. Saying things like, "I hope you know it doesn't bother me to date a single mom." Remember? He bought gifts for the baby off her registry at Target. He brought me things to take with me on my trip to Russia. And then, when we got back, he was anxious to see me and meet her.

Well he came over the week after we got back from our trip, bearing a lovely bottle of wine. We had, what I thought, was a lovely evening. We watched and played with the baby until her bedtime, and then hung out drinking wine and talking after she went to bed. That was a month ago, and I haven't heard from him since. Not an e-mail, not a phone call. Nothin'.

True colors, I suppose.

"Dancing with the Stars?"
"Strip Search?"
"Hit Me Baby, One More Time?"
"I Want a Famous Face?"

Does the American public have a limit for the amount of reality t.v. bile they'll accept as programming between Levitra commercials? Apparently not. Good God.
Thankfully there are new seasons of "Six Feet Under" amd "Reno 911" starting up. Otherwise I might be tempted to cancel my $130/mo. cable bill. Did I mention I'm on UNPAID maternity leave?